Enrollment begins for jobs program targeting older vets

Published: May 29, 2012 From Stripes.com U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

With the Vow to Hire Heroes Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year, a new employment program aiming to recalibrate the career prospects of veterans over 35 is now available for applicants.

The Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) targets those between 35 and 60, despite the large number of unemployed veterans from the Iraq-Afghanistan era, according to a story in The Washington Post.

Through VRAP, 99,000 successful applicants will be eligible for up to $1,473 a month in benefits that can be used towards retraining for high-demand jobs.

The first-come, first-serve basis program covers a year of education between July and March 31, 2014.

The Washington Post story interviewed two of the first applicants for VRAP, including Cheryl Blackburn, an Army veteran who was having trouble finding employment without a college degree.

“I wanted to get back in government, but everybody said you needed a degree,” said Blackburn, a D.C. resident who once worked as a security consultant for the State Department. “I had the experience, but I needed the degree.”

Blackburn told the paper she hopes to use the program to earn a degree in finance at the University of the District of Columbia or Northern Virginia Community College.

“This important tool will help those who served our country receive the education and training they need to find meaningful employment in a high-demand field,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Veterans are disciplined, hardworking, goal-oriented team members who can play a vital role in helping businesses and the economy grow.”

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