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New job training program offered to veterans

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FRANKFORT, Ky. - Unemployed veterans aged 35 - 60 may qualify for up to 12 months of job training through the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. VRAP will provide training for programs of education that lead to a high-demand occupation. The program, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor, will start July 1, 2012.

The program is limited nationally to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program, which is currently $1,473 per month. Every veteran who participates will be provided employment assistance upon completion of the program. Applications are now available online at http://benefits.va.gov/vow.

To qualify, a veteran must:

*Be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old,

*Be unemployed,

*Have an other than dishonorable discharge,

*Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program,

*Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability, and

*Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program.

Participants must be enrolled in a program of education approved for the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree, or a certificate, and provide training towards a high-demand occupation. For a list of approved high-demand occupations and to learn more go to http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/other_programs/vrap.html.

All veterans are encouraged to visit the Office of Employment and Training (OET) for individual assistance in developing a plan to achieve career goals and to find labor market information on high-demand occupations in the area. Computers are provided to apply for the VRAP assistance. To find an OET near you, go to http://www.oet.ky.gov/office/office.asp or call (502) 564-7456.

OET helps individuals prepare for, secure and maintain employment; assists employers in locating and selecting the best qualified workers for their job openings; and provides income maintenance to ease the financial burden on individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.