The coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone's life, some more than others. Our veterans are especially struggling during this time, whether it's isolation or a lost job. That's why the VA wants you to know there's a program out there that can help, the Veteran Readiness and Employment Program. This program can help vets get a job right away or go back to school to get a better job down the road.
"My school is getting paid for. All I have to do is focus on making myself better so I can admit I’m a better member of society," said Pierre-Richard Victor.
Victor applied for VR&E because of the coronavirus. He was living in Virginia at the start of the pandemic, with his two sons. He was stationed there as an Operations Sergeant for United States Army. When his orders were done in July, he was planning to move to Florida to be a flight attendant.
"Going back to my job was not feasible because what was going on with Covid and what’s going on with the airline... that wouldn’t happen," said Victor. He added, "when Covid happened I think it was wow what do we do? What’s going on? It’s not easy to change. It’s not easy to see further in the future to say this happened, what am I going to do? I have two kids to feed."
As part of VR&E, Victor is going back to school as a business administration student.
"In two years I’ll be walking down aisle and it will be an amazing accomplishment. Something I wasn’t able to do when I was younger and now will be able to do it," said Victor. He plans on applying for business jobs when he graduates and find a way to help other vets. He said, "what can I do to make life for someone better? I’m not close minded to even starting my own business because the idea is I’m paying back."
This program helps vets prepare for, find and maintain new employment opportunities.
"We work with veterans to determine their interests, aptitudes and abilities and then help them to achieve those goals," said William Streitberger, the Program Director. He's a success story from the program himself. He added, "right after 9/11 i found myself out of work. a single guy with 3 daughters and no where to turn so i came in to the vr and e program. i started with my education leading to a business degree. at that same time i started my career with the VA back in 2002 and fast forward 18 years i now have the privilege and honor of running the very program that changed my professional life. it is a testament to how this program is and always will be a success."
Streitberger said they are seeing an increase in applications for the program and Victor recommends everyone who can, take advantage of it.
Victor stressed, "this program is a blessing to have because I never thought I would find a place where I would be able to go to school, assist pay and other ways they assist. I know there are veterans that really need their help and aren’t getting the help for it."
For more information about the program or to apply, click here.