Veterans Education, Benefits, and Employment Fair

July 1, 2013

Valdosta, GA— In November of 2012 reports listed the number of unemployed veterans to be just under one million in the United States. That is a staggering number of individuals who served our country and put their life on the line for each of us and are now struggling to put food on the table. In the Valdosta community there are several organizations doing all they can to put those individuals back to work.

Valdosta Veterans 1st and the Wiregrass Student Veteran’s Association would like to invite all veterans, their spouses and dependents to a Veterans Education, Benefits and Employment Fair. Representatives from local colleges, the Georgia Department of Labor, the Veterans Administration, and other veterans’ service organization will be present to offer education, training, and employment opportunities. The event will be held on July 17, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Valdosta Campus in Brooks Hall.

The event will provide veterans and their families with information on different veterans retraining programs, veteran education reimbursement programs, and other benefits aimed at getting veterans back to work. Veteran’s organizations will have representatives on hand to help individuals navigate through options that are best suited to their situation. One such program is the Veteran’s Retraining Assistance Program also known as VRAP. The VRAP program is a first-come, first serve retraining assistance programs for veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 who are unemployed at the time of the application. Veterans who are currently receiving unemployment benefits or are enrolled in a federal or state job training program do not qualify. Veterans who do qualify can receive up to 12 months of education assistance in high demand areas. Staff from the Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration will be on hand to answer questions and walk veterans through the online application for VRAP. They will also be available to work with veterans and their families on other programs including the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Employment Assistance.

Scott Lieupo is a veteran who recently found out about the VRAP program. Lieupo enlisted in the Air Force after high school and served four years as a Security Specialist. After leaving the Air Force, he began working with a flooring company as a contract employee. During the recession, the jobs were not as easy to come by and he began looking for new opportunities. He was contacted by his former supervisor in the Air Force who had been approved for the VRAP program and urged Scott to apply. Scott has been approved for the VRAP program and is enrolling in Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in the fall of 2013. According to Scott “This is an opportunity for me and other veterans to start a new career path or gain more training in our current fields. I encourage others to take advantage of programs and events like the Veteran’s Fair. You never know what you will learn that could shape your future.”

The Veteran’s Education, Benefits, and Employment Fair will have representatives from local colleges, area organizations that provide assistance to veterans and employers who have veteran’s hiring programs in place. The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Tim Oliver, Lt. Col. USAF Retired, at 229-561-5251.