Monday, August 29, 2022

How a $386M COVID Program Failed to Retrain Unemployed Veterans; Millions in COVID aid went to retrain veterans. Only 397 landed jobs, and other C-Virus related stories

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
How a $386M COVID program failed to retrain unemployed veterans:
A $386 million coronavirus pandemic veteran's retraining program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs largely did not function as was designed and did not attract as many veterans as it was created to serve, according to a Washington Post investigation.
Why it matters: The program, included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that passed last year, heavily relied on for-profit institutions, some of which were later barred from participating in the program.
  • Much of the money allocated for the program went unspent, putting the VA on track to return millions of dollars to the Treasury when the program expires in December, per the Post.
How it works: The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) was created by Congress to retrain veterans who were unemployed because of the pandemic.
  • The training was designed to train veterans for high-demand jobs through a year of online courses at participating institutions.
  •  It was designed to serve a total of 17,250 veterans, but by Aug. 1, only about 6,800 veterans had enrolled and only 397 got new jobs after graduating, according to numbers from the VA reviewed by the Post.
When creating the program, Congress did not prevent for-profit entities from receiving VA tuition payments as part of the program, despite the agency struggling in the past to regulate such schools, per the Post. --->READ MORE HERE
Millions in COVID aid went to retrain veterans. Only 397 landed jobs:
The offer to military veterans left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic was tantalizing: A year of online courses courtesy of the federal government. Graduates would be set up for good jobs in high-demand fields from app development to graphic design.
“I jumped at it,” said Jacqueline Culbreth, 61, an Air Force veteran laid off in 2020 from her job as a construction estimator in Orlando. “I was looking forward basically to upping my earning power.”
But more than a year after enrolling at the Chicago-based Future Tech Career Institute, Culbreth is no closer to her goal of landing a job in cloud computing. Like many former service members enrolled at the for-profit trade school under a pandemic relief program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, she soon found herself immersed in discouraging chaos.
Schedules were disorganized and courses did not follow a set syllabus. School-provided laptops couldn’t run critical software. And during long stretches of scheduled class time, students were left without instruction, according to interviews with Culbreth and 10 other veterans who attended the school.
In February, VA cut off tuition payments to Future Tech, leaving Culbreth and more than 300 other veterans in the lurch.
The disarray at Future Tech is the most painful example of broader problems with the $386 million Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program, or VRRAP. Many schools proved unable to attract students or deliver promised services. In addition to Future Tech, nearly 90 schools have had their approvals yanked, according to VA officials, including several that were actively serving about 100 veterans. Some schools were cut off amid allegations of predatory practices, while others simply went out of business.
As of Aug. 1, only about 6,800 veterans had enrolled in the program, far fewer than the 17,250 Congress created it to serve, the agency said; just 397 had landed new jobs. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

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YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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