With Limited Spots Left Nationwide, Sen. Brown, County Exec Fitzgerald Alert Northeast Ohio Veterans to Next Deadline for Federal Training Program that Helps Unemployed Vets Land High-Demand Jobs

VRAP Provides Retraining for Veterans Ages 35-60; County Executive Ed FitzGerald to Also Provide Update on Army PAYS Program, Aimed at Increasing Employment Among Young Veterans

CLEVELAND, OH – With limited spots remaining nationwide, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald today highlighted a newly-available career retraining assistance program made possible through the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Brown and FitzGerald encouraged northeast Ohio veterans to apply for the program, which has already accepted more than 2,200 Ohio veterans into the program.

“Just as we invest in our servicemembers while they’re on the battlefield, we should do the same when they return home,” Brown said. “The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program will help ensure that thousands of veterans can get retrained for new positions in high-demand jobs—and with a limited number of spaces available, it’s critical that eligible Ohio veterans apply as quickly as possible for these vital benefits.”

The VRAP provides retraining assistance for high-demand careers for veterans ages 35 to 60. County Executive FitzGerald also provided an update on the Army PAYS program, which seeks to match younger veterans with Cuyahoga County jobs. Brown and FitzGerald were joined by Marine Corps veteran Everett Chambers, an unemployed veteran from the Cleveland area who is using VRAP funds to get retrained as an electrical engineering technician at Tri-C.

Brown was an original cosponsor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a key provision of which is VRAP, which offers job retraining assistance to veterans between 35 and 60 years of age. According to the VA—which is administering the program along with the U.S. Department of Labor—VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans.

Although the first round of funding for VRAP has maxed out at 45,000 veterans for retraining assistance, VRAP is still accepting applications and veterans are encouraged to apply. The second round of funding began October 1st, and an additional 54,000 veterans can receive assistance until March 31, 2014. Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved education program offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high-demand occupation. A list of VRAP high-demand occupations is available here.