One year ago today, the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), a program that offers a renewed opportunity for education/training and job assistance to unemployed Veterans 35-60 years old, started accepting applications. As of this week there have been over 117,000 applicants. We have notified over 101,000 Veterans that they are approved to begin training (through a Certificate of Eligibility-COE) and, to date over 47,000 have begun their training towards a high demand career field.

VRAP is a joint program between VA and Department of Labor. However, the successful outreach of VRAP was a much larger community endeavor. Many individuals who represent our stakeholders, community partners, and Veterans Service Organizations helped us reach out to this deserving population. We thank them for helping us and supporting our outreach efforts. We could not have achieved this without them.

Our challenge now is ensuring that Veterans who have received notification of approval, a COE, start their training as soon as feasible. According to the law that established VRAP, the program expires March 31, 2014, so it’s important that training is initiated and completed by that date.

Please help us get that word out. We do not want any of the 99,000 slots to go unused. The program is only two years long. Unless the program is extended by Congress, we can only accept applications until September 30, 2013, and the last payment can be made through March 31, 2014. The urgency should be conveyed: Apply, use the benefit as soon as feasible, or notify us to cancel the Certificate of Eligibility so that another Vet can potentially use the benefit.

Curtis Coy is VA’s Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Opportunity and a U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force Veteran.

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Published on May. 15, 2013

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  1. Loida Rendon June 4, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Was approved for the VRAP and to this date have not been able to find a school that has an idea what VRAP is. Many of the schools that I have contacted, claimed that they accepted the VRAP but once we got into what the program was, they had no clues as to what I was talking about. I’m a semester away from earning my Associates. I still plan on finishing my degree but the additional funding would have help in paying the additional fees and books. Great program but I’m about to lose it.

  2. Alan C Underwood May 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I am using this program with no problems but as mentione above several time it is only good for 1 year while most programs require 2 years to complete. Is it possible to end your 1 year VRAP and apply again to recieve another year?

    I am currently on the Deans List and doing very well but I fear I will struggle to maintain a high GPA if I have to take a full time job to pay for cost of living expenses.

  3. Jim May 29, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I was approved for the VRAP program and chose Computer Network and Support Technician. It is a job in high demand. All you need to do is become certified in A+ Hardware, A+ Software, Networking,etc and you will find a job. With out being certified, your chances are not as good.

  4. mark May 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    There should be a “use by or lose” period. Its looking like hundreds if not thousands of slots are going down the drain. Why is the leadership in this program allowing such a travesty?

  5. William D. Waddy Jr. May 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I am taking advantage of this great program at the American College of Technology in Network Administration and Information Security. I hope this program will be extended to two years of funding instead of just one?. I will graduate with a one year certificate this summer which is not enough to get me employed … which I believe is the intent of the program. By not having this funded beyond a year, I will have to pay for the education myself. My GPA is currently 3.83 and this shows my willingness to add to my current skillset. Out of 99,000 approved applications only 49,000 veterans are currently enrolled. It would be a waste of money not to allow those that are willing to learn and grow to benefit from such a great program.

  6. Donna May 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    If only the program would have actually paid for two years of school. Even with several classes that I transferred, I still won’t have my degree by the time my money runs out. I will just continue to take out loans to survive! Woohoo

  7. Nicole Hauffman May 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    VRAP is a brilliant program! I have witnessed the significant improvement this benefit has made on many Veterans I serve. I urge Congress to extend the end date to at least June 2013 so those enrolled are able to receive the full 12 month benefit.

    Nicole Hauffman
    Americorps Member
    Idaho Department of Labor
    Post Falls, Idaho

  8. Michael P. McCracken May 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    3 in 5 approved applicants are NOT taking advantage of the benefits they’ve been approved for (myself included) because of all the restrictions placed on this program and its participants.
    I ran into obstacle after obstacle for more than three months at no less than seven (7) training centers until I finally said, “to hell with it” and quit even thinking about school. At this point I honestly don’t care if I ever work another day in my life and it looks like I probably won’t

  9. Brenda May 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Why is there an age limit, we all still need to be employed longer than 60 yrs.

  10. Bryan Terry May 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    None of the 1 year certificate programs at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH qualify for VRAP. Makes no sense to me.

  11. Viola Lindsay May 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Thank you so much for the age inclusion! I was unemployed when this benefit began last summer. I started computer Information Technology classes at the local community college (Tarrant County College) that fall. I enjoyed being with them so much I applied for several jobs and got one in the computer lab. VRAP gave me this opportunity and just as important let me know you believed I could do it. I will still take classes in network support while working full time now.

  12. laura smith May 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I am just past midterms, my second semester at a business institute in Elmira New York. I have recieved two full months of VRAP pymts, and have only good things to say about the program! It allows me to concentrate on returning to school, while not having to worry about a full paycheck on top of first time in college in 30 years. With one year of benefits, I will have plenty of time to find my niche, and be working full time , and still going for my degree by the time the year is up. Without VRAP, I would not have a nice roof over my head, computer to do homework on, and bills paid. I know that being accepted into this program was a lifesaver for me, and a wonderful benefit for being a veteran.

  13. Reggie Dunbar II May 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for this program.

    The VRAP has allowed me to pursue a certificate in marketing and an insurance license.
    These credentials is making life more liveable and my community is benefiting in that I have started a nonprofit to assist disabled veterans to get into business with local, state, and federal governments and businesses.

    Thanks for a Vietnam Era Veteran
    J. Reginald Dunbar II
    Atlanta GA

  14. steven plummer May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    please let this be extended, I’m so close to graduating. my gpa in the spring sem. was 3.7. I am very greatful for this re-newed oppty.

  15. Rodney E. Jackson May 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    What good does it do to have another VA Program and the Schools are Clueless ???

    • Nicole Hauffman May 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm


      Contact your local department of labor veteran representative they will be able to assist.


  16. donald jones May 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Congratulations on one year. I am a receipent of this program, and I am very grateful for its existence. This program is allowing me to be re-trained in a field that’s highly in demand. It is allowing me to maintain a decent comfortable lifestyle. Thank you for all being done to help Americas Veterans.

  17. Martin Screeton May 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I have took advantage of this great program since I did not have a GI bill for education that was worth anything from my decade of service in the 1980’s Army. I am wondering if this should not be extended to two years of schooling?. I will graduate with a one year certificate this summer which is Not going to get me a job … which I believe is the intent of the program. By not having this supplement beyond a year, I am having to continue on with additional schooling with the extra burden increasing loan amounts which I don’t think is good for me or the country.

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