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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 15, 2012
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 october 15, 2012 • Vol. 62, No. 14 continued on page 3 Effort to move vets to civilian jobs gains traction Veterans groups are generally applauding a one-year-old Department of Veterans Affairs program that provides financial support to help vets get training for in-demand job skills. The VA announced Sept. 20 that it has com- pleted the first phase of the veterans retraining and education program, filling all of its avail- able slots for fiscal 2012. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, or VRAP, aims over a two-year period to train 99,000 unemployed vets in more than 200 in-demand job skills to make them more attractive job candidates. "We're very excited about the program," Randi Law, communications manager for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told FEND. "A n y time the federal government is trying to help the veterans community to re-acclimate to the civilian workforce, we're on board---especially given the current economic climate. We're also excited that people are taking the VA up on what's offered here." "There's always room for improvement," Law continued. "But for a recently kicked off program, this is an excellent start, and really an astounding number of vets already are benefiting. The program has definite potential to evolve." Law added that the VFW has been encour- aging its members to take advantage of the program---for instance in its own recently published newsletter. VFW has over 1.5 mil- lion members, according to the organization. "From all indications, this program has been a pretty good success," Dave Autry, of the Disabled American Veterans, told FEND. "And remember, the VRAP program is not just for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, but for all others as well." "The federal government is really trying to make an effort---to lead the way---mak- ing special efforts to get vets hired, even though of course there is still some distance left to cover, " Autry continued. "Especially, it helps to get those who have skills that are easily translatable into the civilian sector. For instance if you were a military air traffic controller, that's a no-brainer, because you are or ought to be able to qualify under the FAA and civilian air traffic rules. There are other examples like this." "We're going to maintain the momentum of our outreach to make sure we get the maxi- mum of 54,000 veterans retrained in fiscal year 2013," VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey said. Education, training assistance The program allows qualifying vets to receive up to 12 months of financial assistance equal to the current full-time Montgomery GI Bill active duty rate of $1,473 per month toward obtaining an associate degree, a non- college degree, or a certificate for a high- demand occupation predetermined by the Department of Labor. The rate will increase to $1,546 per month on Oct. 1. Completion of the program's first phase entailed enrolling 45,000 unemployed vets into the program in fiscal 2012; the second Quest for Fire There has been a string of anti-fed sto- ries over the past two years. Some of the stories--- Page 1 in some news- papers---were based on interpretation of data collected by conserva- tive think tanks. Some of the conclusions were accurate interpre- tations of the data, but critics say the data itself was flawed, or skewed to produce certain conclusions. Some stories were self-inflicted, as in the now infamous General Services Administration's conferences in Las Vegas, or two expensive HR romps by some Veterans Affairs personnel in Orlando, Fla. Then there was the GSA session in Nashville, which has yet to be resolved. All were OK'd and encouraged by top brass. In one case, the West Coast GSA official hosting a session literally said he wanted it to be "over the top" to outdo sessions hosted by other GSA regions. It was, and it did. In both the GSA and VA ordeals, somebody from inside tipped off inspectors general, who took it from there. Then there was the Secret Service SNAFU in Colombia. None of the above events was probably a first in government. And, in an era when it is possible to make a video with your cell phone and post it on YouTube, we will probably be hearing and seeing more of them. In all cases, officials said that such things will never happen again, and that INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Retirement claims rise 3 • Whistleblower reforms advance 3 • In Brief 4 • Informed investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8
Oct. 8, 2012
Oct. 22, 2012