JVSG Companion Programs: DOL-VETS and the VA’s VR&E Collaboration Agreement

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In September 2020, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Veterans Affairs (VA) renewed their Memorandum of Agreement to partner their respective Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and Veteran Readiness and Employment Service (VR&E) programs. They are currently conducting a pilot designed to increase the number of VR&E participants who enroll in apprenticeships, providing benefits to both veterans and employers.1 In the fourth article of JVSG Companion Programs, our continuing NVTI series for Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) personnel, we’ll review resources available through the VR&E partnership—an integrated approach and proven match with the VETS mission to prepare veterans, service members, and spouses for meaningful employment.

Benefits to Veterans under VR&E
The VR&E program can help veterans with service-connected disabilities that limit their ability to work or prevent them from working. Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists providing intensive services to veterans and eligible spouses under the JVSG program can leverage this existing VA resource to facilitate participants’ transitions into meaningful civilian employment. The VA’s Chapter 36, or Personalized Career Planning and Guidance (PCPG), offers no-cost education and career guidance, planning, and resources to veterans and their dependents who are eligible for a VA education benefit, which can be incorporated into Individual Employment Plans (IEP) developed under the JVSG program that will connect into these inter-agency resources.
VR&E provides five support-and-service tracks to help veterans find and sustain employment, and live as independently as possible:2

  • Reemployment track. Veterans may have the right to return to the civilian job they held before being deployed; VR&E can help with this process.
  • Rapid Access to Employment track. If a veteran wants a job that matches their existing skills, VR&E can help with attaining employment counseling and job-search support.
  • Self-Employment track. VR&E can help with business start-ups for service members or veterans with a service-connected disability.
  • Employment Through Long-Term Service track. Veterans may be eligible for professional or vocational training to help them develop new job skills.
  • Independent Living track. VR&E can help veterans learn about services that can help them live as independently as possible if they can’t return to work right away.

Apprenticeship Focus under the DOL-VETS and VA-VR&E Partnership
Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career path through which employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized, portable credential. Employers can choose to register their programs with the DOL to show prospective job seekers that their apprenticeship program meets national quality standards.
Five key components of apprenticeships differentiate them from other types of workplace training programs:

  • Paid job. Apprenticeships are jobs! Apprentices earn a competitive wage from their employers during training.
  • Mentorship. Apprentices receive on-the-job learning under the instruction of an experienced mentor.
  • Credentials. Apprentices earn a portable, nationally recognized credential within their industry.
  • Work-based learning. Programs provide structured on-the-job learning to prepare for a successful career.
  • Classroom learning. Apprentices receive classroom instruction on critical aspects of their careers.

Apprenticeship Benefits to Employers
With a network of over 150,000 employers in more than 1,000 occupations, apprenticeship is developing a new generation of workers to help our nation succeed in the twenty-first-century economy.  Apprenticeship programs help employers: 3 

  • Recruit and develop a highly-skilled workforce that helps grow their business
  • Improve productivity, profitability, and an employer’s bottom line
  • Create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills
  • Minimize liability costs through appropriate training of workers
  • Receive tax credits and employee tuition benefits in participating states
  • Increase retention of workers, during and following the apprenticeship 

To discover additional benefits and resources surrounding this valuable training program, see the accompanying article “Apprenticeships May be the Right Vocational Choice for Veterans with Challenges” in the NVTI News and Announcements section.4