Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) and Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside) introduced the Help Hire Our Heroes Act, a bill that would extend the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) for six months. This extension of the VRAP authorization and additional funding would allow veterans to participate and would pay veterans VRAP benefits through September 30, 2014.
“Far too many veterans in Ventura County and across the country are unemployed, and we owe it to them to help them re-train for new high-skilled jobs and careers. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program has succeeded in helping many veterans re-train and find employment, and it should not be allowed to lapse,” said Congresswoman Brownley.
“I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Help Hire Our Heroes Act, which will extend the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. Far too many of our brave men and women face difficulty finding work upon completion of their service, but with the Help Hire Our Heroes Act, veterans who are unemployed, received an honorable discharge, and are not enrolled in or eligible for any other VA program will receive up to 12 months of training assistance. I thank Representative Brownley for her commitment to our nation’s veterans, and look forward to seeing this legislation move its way through Congress and to the President’s desk for his signature,” said Congressman Takano.
VRAP started in 2012 to provide training assistance to unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 who are no longer eligible for the GI Bill. It provides up to 12 months of training benefits at community colleges and technical schools in occupations that the Department of Labor has identified as “high demand.” Because of funding limitations, the VA stopped accepting new VRAP applications after October 1, 2013, and it is scheduled to stop paying benefits after March 31, 2014. Congresswoman Brownley’s bill would ensure that the critical program can continue.