President Obama has announced a goal of getting legislation passed to start up a Veteran Jobs Corps to help Afghanistan and Iraq veterans get jobs as cops and firefighters, as well as other jobs serving their communities.
According to the White House website, the program will aim to leverage skills developed in the military, with veterans “restoring our great outdoors by providing visitor programs, restoring habitat, protecting cultural resources, eradicating invasive species, and operating facilities. Through these opportunities, our veterans will help make a significant dent in the deferred maintenance of our Federal, State, local, and tribal lands including jobs that will repair and rehabilitate trails, roads, levees, recreation facilities and other assets. Additionally the Veterans Job Corps will help veterans get back to work protecting our nation as first responders, such as police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. The program will serve all veterans, but will have a particular focus on post-9/11 veterans.” For a full video and transcript that outlines the program, see this page.
A new Army Times article suggests that the President may already be facing opposition to the legislation, and that a less expensive option is already available:
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, said he doesn’t think the Veterans Job Corps is a good investment.
At a cost of $50,000 per veteran, the initiative would offer “no guarantee of a long-term position after government funding runs out,” Miller said.
In comparison, the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which provides up to one year of education benefits so unemployed veterans can learn a new, marketable skill, will cost $16,161 per veteran while preparing them for permanent jobs “in a high-demand industry such as manufacturing, technology and health care,” Miller said.
According to VA officials, only 12,200 people have applied for 45,000 funded VRAP positions for 2012. An additional 54,000 slots will open on Oct. 1.
Got an opinion on the Veterans Jobs Corps you want to get to your local representatives? You can make use of the Military.com Legislative Center to send your feedback; you can also sound off in the comments section below.