While unemployment has affected Americans all across the country, post-9/11 veterans face an unemployment rate (11.1 percent) that is higher than the national rate. Today, President Obama revealed details surrounding a new $5 billion veterans jobs proposal aimed to reduce that statistic.
The Veterans Jobs Corp Initiative proposes to award $320 million in grants to fire departments that hire and train post-9/11 veterans and $166 million in grants to communities that hire new veterans for law enforcement jobs.
Congress has already appropriated that money, but President Obama is pursuing another $4 billion to expand this program to increase the amount of first responders. Even though Congress rejected a similar proposal in 2011, he’s hoping for a better reception to the idea this year. In addition, the president is seeking $1 billion to create jobs for veterans at state and federal public parks where they can hold tourism and maintenance positions. The administration is also proposing to expand training programs for approximately 10,000 veterans interested in entrepreneurship.
While both Democrats and Republicans are committed to making sure veterans have new opportunities when they come home, they must also continue to tackle the problem of a rising deficit. It will be interesting to see if there’s a lukewarm reaction to these proposals given current economic circumstances.
Zing will be sure to keep an eye on this story and share updates as they develop.