In the President’s State of the Union address, he referred to a new program to help veterans find employment called the “Veterans Job Corps.” The President unveiled some of the plan’s details late last week.
The President's plan essentially falls into a three separate programs, which will be managed by several agencies including the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Dept. of Labor, the Small Business Administration, and the Dept. of the Interior.
First Responder Jobs -- Part one of the plan will be focused on new incentives to hire veterans as first responders – emergency medical workers, firefighters and police officers to be precise. According to a White House Press Release, the President will announce $166 million in 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant funding and $320 million in 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. According to the White House plan, preference for these grants will also be given to communities that hire post-9/11 veterans.
The plan calls for increasing the budget to $4B for COPS and $1B for SAFER in 2013.
Veterans Job Corps -- The second part of the plan is to form a Veterans Job Corps conservation program reminiscent of some of the “new deal” depression era programs. The VJC will put veterans to work preserving and restoring America’s land and natural resources. The proposed Veterans Job Corps conservation program will require up to $1 billion to develop and could put up to 20,000 veterans back to work over the next five years. The program will serve all veterans, but will have a particular focus on post-9/11 veterans.
Veteran Small Business Opportunities -- The President’s proposed plan would expand entrepreneurship training opportunities for separating servicemembers and veterans. The Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs, will work with the Small Business Administration, to create a two-day entrepreneurship program as part of the Transition Assistance Program that will be available to all service members.
According to the White House, the SBA will also offer in-depth entrepreneurial training through an 8-week online training program that will teach the fundamentals of small business ownership. Over 10,000 veterans would be able to take advantage of the advanced training each year under this plan.
As a side note, these programs were developed, in part, by the VA-DOD Task Force for a Career Ready Military that the President established last August.
The President's next step is to convince Congress to support his plan. Administration officials feel that due to bipartisan concern for veteran unemployment issues, Congress will be willing to find some common ground.