Thousands of veterans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-related challenges can now apply as part of a new rapid retraining program designed to prepare them for new careers in sought-after fields.
The benefit, available to around 17,000 veterans, is aimed at those who have already exhausted other training opportunities but are still without stable employment due to coronavirus closures, layoffs, or health complications.
The program was included in the last coronavirus aid package approved by Congress. The measure was incorporated into law on March 11, but applications for the new program in support of the rapid retraining of veterans were postponed until May 3 as veterans affairs officials worked to maintain the program.
Those in charge of the VA stated that they had coordinated the work with the Ministry of Labor. This included identifying professions in high demand across the country and setting new guidelines for schools wishing to participate.
VRRAP officials have identified more than 200 high-demand occupations for veterans to consider, including architecture and engineering, personal care and service contracts, and construction careers.
Under the program, veterans who qualify will be able to receive up to 12 months of post-September 11th post-September 11 GI bill educational benefits (including tuition and housing grants) with the aim of learning a new skill or completing a certificate program in it Timeframe.
To qualify, veterans must be between the ages of 25 and 66, have an honorable or non-honorable discharge, and not be eligible for any other VA educational benefits or government professional training programs.
In addition, applicants are not allowed to receive disability benefits for reasons that led to their unemployment and cannot receive unemployment benefit at the beginning of their training.
Several lawmakers have touted the initiative to deal with the persistently high unemployment among American veterans caused by the pandemic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5 percent of all veterans looking for work in March were unable to find stable employment, up from 2.9 percent the year before the pandemic began.
Further information on the program and the application forms can be found at the VA website.