Program helps older veterans go back to school

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- Thanks to a program made possible under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, older veterans are able to head back to school. Funding came through on July 1 and so far, nearly 33,000 veterans nationwide have signed up.

Retired veteran Chuck Young says it is always hard for older veterans to land a job. He believes young people are looked at first.

"When they try to find jobs, they're just on the bottom of the list. They need a special education that needs to be provided for them, that puts them in the new job skills that are available to us in this country now," Young said.

A new program is offering just that.

The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program will provide a year's worth of funding for unemployed, older veterans so they can head back to school.

The program is part of a national effort to bring down the veteran unemployment rate. It is targeting veterans 35-60.

"Most of the veterans younger than that age group still have some benefits left, some educational benefits. So, they're trying to get that window of student that's still employable age wise, but they don't have any benefits now, to get retrained into something that's going to be more marketable," said Grayson College employee, Jean Metcalf.

The funding kicked in July 1. Grayson College has already had more than a dozen veterans enroll in classes, and they expect more.

"A lot of the local veterans have been applying for it, and we can tell that by numbers that are coming in showing that they have the letter showing that they are eligible," Metcalf said.

Young says veteran unemployment is a constant battle and programs like these are needed.

"You've got to have a program to help boost these individuals to where they can get a good paying job and make a living for their families," Young said.

The program is for unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60. You cannot have dishonorable discharge. There are 45,000 spots available and so far nearly 33,000 are taken.

The deadline to apply is September 30.

"The veterans that qualify for this, If they don't get in early, they may lose out on the program," Metcalf said.

" I suggest everybody that's eligible for that please take it. Get all of the education you can get," said Young.

They will open another window for 2013 and there will be 54,000 spots available.
Remember, the deadline to apply for this round is September 30 and spots are going fast.

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