The numbers are shocking. There are close to 900,000 veterans currently unemployed in the United States.

One in twelve of our nation’s veterans have hit a dead end in the road to employment. Unable to find a job or support a family is a harsh reality for many of our proud service men and women.

The frustrating transition from leading thousands of troops on the battlefield or being responsible in handling millions of dollars worth of high-tech military equipment, to being completely shut out of the workforce on the home front is undoubtedly a tough pill to swallow.

A case study released earlier this month by researchers at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that employees with military backgrounds are invaluable workers in a civilian business environment due to the skills they develop from active-duty training.

So why aren’t they being hired?

New legislation called the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” seeks to lower the unemployment rate among veterans that possess intangible leadership skills and qualities, but haven’t been able to find good jobs.

VetsFirst was present when this important bill was signed.

Here’s what the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 does for struggling, unemployed vets:

Veterans May Qualify for Additional Education Benefits

The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) offers 12 months of retraining assistance to Veterans who are:

-At least 35 but no more than 60 years old
-Have an other than dishonorable discharge
-Not eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g., the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment)
-Not in receipt of VA compensation due to Individual Unemployability (IU)
-Not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
-Enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school

The program is limited to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012 through September 30, 2012, and to 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014.

Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full‐time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non‐College Degree, or a Certification, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation.

Visit to learn more and read frequently asked questions about VRAP. More details about VRAP, including information on how to apply, will be published at as they become available.

Veterans With A Service‐Connect Disability May Qualify For Additional Vocational Rehabilitation And Employment Benefits

Veterans who previously completed a VA vocational rehabilitation program and have used the initial 26 weeks of unemployment benefits may qualify for an additional 12 months of VA vocational rehabilitation benefits.

-You must have previously completed a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program and been considered “rehabilitated” by VA.
-You must apply within six months of using up your initial 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. You may still qualify for extended or emergency unemployment benefits.
-You can apply now, but cannot start any education or training until June 1, 2012 and you must apply to VA by March 31, 2014.

VA may offer incentive payments to encourage employers to hire and train program participants.

-VA may be able to reimburse an employer up to one‐half your annual salary for 6 months or longer
-This can provide you with a competitive advantage with employers
-You must apply and qualify for VA vocational rehabilitation benefits prior to being hired

To apply or learn more information about vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits please call 1‐800‐827‐ 1000, visit the and fill out an online application (VONAPP), or Complete VA Form 28‐1900, Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation, and submit it to the nearest VA Regional Office.