A new career program rolled out by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to receive tuition for education, training, and housing.
The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) provides help to those veterans who have become unemployed due to COVID-19.
The career program:
The VRRAP offers sanctioned education and training programs under the GI Bill and through the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC), leading to high-demand jobs, according to the VA. Educational opportunities include certificate programs, associate degrees, and non-college degrees.
Veterans admitted to the career program receive up to one year of tuition and a monthly housing allowance based on Post-9/11 GI Bill rates.
Career program criteria include:
- At least 22 years old and under 67 years of age.
- Not eligible for GI Bill or Veterans Ready and Employment Benefits.
- Not enrolled in a federal or state jobs program.
- Unemployed due to COVID-19.
- Not receiving VA disability compensation due to inability to work.
- Not receiving unemployment compensation, including enhanced benefits under the CARES Act.
The application process began in early May, and the program concludes 21 months after its adoption (Dec. 11, 2022). It’s limited to 17,250 participants, with funding capped at $386 million.
American Rescue Plan
VRRAP was part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which seeks to bring relief to American workers adversely affected by the virus. According to the White House, more than 9.5 million workers have become unemployed during the pandemic.
According to James Oxford, national commander for the American Legion, veterans whose career paths have been altered or blocked altogether by the COVID-19 pandemic can use a fresh opportunity in the post-COVID economy.
“We need to remember that many of these veterans who were gainfully employed before the pandemic achieved their gainful employment through GI Bill education and training benefits,” he said. “Those benefits may now be exhausted, and they stand unemployed or underemployed today due to the pandemic, without new directions or resources to pursue them. Veterans have proven highly capable through military service to learn new skills and disciplines, often under fire, and they are extremely well-poised to rapidly make the most of the assistance envisioned in this program.”
Travis Horr, the director of Government Affairs for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), says the organization is extremely supportive of VRRAP and worked closely with congressional and VSO allies to develop the Veterans Economic Recovery Act.
“We are glad to see that VA has already started taking applications for veterans that qualify to take advantage of this program and look forward to its full implementation,” he said. “IAVA firmly believes that this is a critical piece of legislation that will address veteran unemployment.”
For more on the VRRAP program visit the VA’s website.
At the time you apply for VRRAP, you can’t be eligible for any of these other benefits:
High-demand job data:
Rio Salado Community College (Arizona) reported the top four high-demand occupations — based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data — for veterans are financial advisors, human resources managesr, human resources specialists, and information security analysts.
Some crucial data on these jobs:
- Financial Advisors: the median wage is $88,0000 annually, and the projected job growth through 2029 is 8%.
- Human Resources Managers: the median wage is $121,220 annually, and the projected job growth through 2029 is 6%.
- Human Resources Specialists: the median wage is $63,490 annually, and the projected job growth through 2029 is 7%.
- Information Security Analysts: the median wage is $103,590 annually, and the projected job growth through 2029 is 31%.