Veterans are being urged to find out if they qualify for a new federal grant program to pay for job retraining, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) announced.
More than 49,000 veterans nationwide have applied for the federal Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. Out of a total of 99,000 grants from a veterans jobs law enacted in November, 33,461 have been approved.
Senator Brown held a news conference at The Source, Lucas County's employment center, to promote participation.
He was joined by Kenneth Taylor, 56, of Toledo, an unemployed Air Force veteran who is taking classes in drug-addiction counseling and human services at Owens Community College.
Mr. Taylor said he was laid off in 2009 from the Toledo Jeep assembly plant.
"Just as we invest in our service members while they're on the battlefield, we should do the same when they return home," Mr. Brown said.
"With a limited number of spaces available, it's critical that eligible Ohio veterans apply as quickly as possible for these critical benefits."
Mr. Taylor was in the Air Force from 1978 to 1982. He later ran a travel agency.
He said he is receiving $1,473 a month for 12 months for tuition and living expenses.
Participants must be age 35 to 60 and enrolled in a VA-approved education program offered by a community college or technical school.
The program must lead to an associate degree, noncollege degree, or a certificate, and train the veteran for a high-demand occupation.
Information about eligibility and how to apply is at www.ebenefits.va.gov.