On March 27, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger, joined a quartet of congressmen at a press conference at the United States Capitol to promote the Help Hire our Heroes Act. (Photo by Craig Roberts)

Legion appeals for extending vet training program

On March 27, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger joined a quartet of congressmen at a press conference to promote the renewal of a landmark employment measure for older veterans. The group gathered in front of the United States Capitol building to speak on behalf of the Help Hire our Heroes Act.

The bill, introduced by California Democratic Reps .Julia Brownley and Mark Takano, would extend the term of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). VRAP offers up to 12 months of employment training or retraining assistance to unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 who are not eligible for or enrolled in other federal or state job training programs. VRAP is scheduled to expire March 31.

Dellinger, fresh from his major congressional testimony a day earlier, spoke briefly, thanking Brownley and Takano for their “support and advocacy for our veterans." "We, The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization," he said, "worked very hard on the orginal legislation and are very propud of its results. The (VRAP) program has assisted over 76,000 veterans… in receiving the assistance necessary to gain the training needed to be gainfully employed and contribute to our nation’s economy. This is a critical juncture in our country's history and we need to promote any program that affords our veterans the opportunity to train for employment.

“That,” Dellinger concluded, "is why the 2.4 million members of The American l;egion support the VRAP program.”

Brownley and Takano’s bill would extend VRAP to September 30 this year by employing disused funds from the government’s obscure “Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.” Brownley said plans are being made to introduce legislation to further extend VRAP once her “Help Hire our Heroes Act” passes. She expects little, if any, opposition to the measure.

Brownley and Takano were joined at the outdoor podium by Rep. Mike Michaud ,(D-Maine), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and Rep. Walter Jones, (R–N.C.), a 20-year veteran of the House.


  1. ....also wish to comment. This is kind of a political football. Not enough to go around for all veterans in the 35-60 year old range. I'd like to see this go on every year continuously for these age groups. Not just a "First come first served basis." That's cheezy.
  2. Well, darned. I think this was a great bill. Too bad I've been employed for the past 20 years straight. Through all my working years, I've had only an unemployed break of 1.5 years since High School graduation in 1980 Missed out on VEAP, and was just reservist, so nothing for educational benefits. There was a time I could have used VRAP for sure. Seems like the timing is always off, or they don't put enough into the program to cover all. But step in the right direction. Would like to see more of this.
  3. I am concern that I have not heard from the V A compensation broad as to how far along is my application for service connected disabilities.I served two tours of duty in Viet Nam.I first applied in May 2013. when I checked on my computer the earliest date april 2015 or latest november 2015. does it aways take that long?
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