Florida Veterans Must Pursue new program VRAP
The Southside Groove By Capstone Zulu
Save the World by Paul and NaQuila
With the Florida unemployment rate slightly above the national average about 9%, and Veterans who serve our country are even at about national average at about 8.1%, just slightly lower than 8.2% national average.
Veterans are high risk unemployed populations and are special needs category. I say this because many veterans on a pension or some type of compensation from the Federal Government. But those unemployed are extraordinary and have special needs and will need special incentives to reenter the workforce and I know this from experience. An unemployed veteran is unthinkable in a nation such as America and President Obama addressed that with the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program.
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:
- Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Are unemployed on the date of application
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
- Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
Do further research and you will be surprised at what you find as this is a new bill and program being shaped by the pioneers who go thru the doors first. Amendments are constant.
Currently there are less than 26,000 applications filed and there are 45,000 slots and the program begins in 1 July 2012. Part of the slow response is the complexity of the application process. And during hard economic times the demand for direct deposit, whereby many veterans are homeless and this could get them out of the shelter for good. For me it will help me reenter the workforce by brushing up on my skills and putting bread on the table concurrently.
Veterans organizations like the DAV and American Legion must step up to the plate. If my organization had the money we would open these accounts for veterans so they can apply for these benefits. There should be a special bank account voucher for veterans to open a bank account for the purpose of receiving benefits.
Another stumbling block is computer literacy. Many veterans are computer illiterate. They cannot fill out these forms on their own, for them there is still hope in the second wave. Unless they can gain assistance in filling out these e-applications. These men are being disenfranchised.
I remember the days when veterans had computer centers in local communities that taught them how to use computers and understand operating systems and programs like Microsoft Office free of charge thru government grants and philanthropic given. These are forgotten days in Avon Park, FL. Veterans are losing out on an opportunity of a lifetime, because they are computer illiterate and do not have $100, to open a bank account for direct deposit as a requirement for VRAP.
If you want you send us money, the NCNCHINC, we would love to act as a go between to get these men and women enrolled in VRAP.
Rev. Frank Paul Jones