For unemployed U.S. military veterans seeking a career in aviation, a new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) now available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to participate in Jeppesen’s FAA Dispatcher Certification training program.
Under the FAA Dispatcher Certification program potentially eligible for VRAP benefits, Jeppesen provides licensing of dispatchers along with the same body of knowledge that is required for the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), applicable to many aviation careers. A dispatcher plays a critical role in maintaining aviation safety and efficiency, working in Airline Operations Control (AOC) centers worldwide.
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program provides U.S. military veterans training toward a degree or certificate that leads to a new occupation. Beginning July 1, 2012, veterans aged 35 to 60 who have exhausted their VA benefits and who are unemployed may apply for VRAP training benefits under Chapter 30 guidelines.
New VRAP benefits are offered to U.S. military veterans that:
- Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Are unemployed on the date of application
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Are not in receipt of VA compensation because of unemployability
- Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
“This new Veterans Affairs policy may open the door for many veterans who are currently unemployed to train under the Jeppesen FAA Dispatcher Certification program for in-demand employment positions offered by airlines and other civil aviation operators,” said Tim Huegel, director, Jeppesen Aviation Portfolio Management. “With the new benefits available for unemployed veterans, this is a great opportunity for candidates who qualify to explore the multiple career opportunities available in the aviation industry.”
FAA licensed dispatchers share operational control of each airline flight with the pilot in command and are responsible for preparing the flight “release.” This process considers the required amount of fuel for each flight, the aircraft performance capabilities, distances, maintenance limitations, weather conditions, airport and runway conditions, navigational capabilities, regulatory conditions and many other factors in assisting with pre-flight preparation. After takeoff, the dispatcher is then responsible for monitoring each flight’s progress to ensure the flight is operated in compliance with government and airline company regulations.
The licensed aircraft dispatcher needs to pass written, oral and practical examinations from the FAA, which the Jeppesen training course prepares students to complete. After certification, dispatchers receive additional training from airline employers, normally 40 to 160 hours of instruction, plus on-the-job training.