Obama unveils veterans jobs proposal with hefty price tag
February 3rd, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Obama unveils veterans jobs proposal with hefty price tag

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is unveiling a new jobs initiative geared toward veterans Friday that the administration says will put thousands of former men and women in uniform back to work.

The new so-called Veterans Jobs Corps initiative, first mentioned in the president's State of the Union address last week, involves partnerships with the Veterans Administration and the Interior Department, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies.

The president is scheduled to announce the new proposals during a speech at an Arlington, Virginia, firehouse.

But with a price tag of at least $5 billion, it's likely the new initiative will be met with stiff opposition in Congress.

Specifically, the administration will preference awards of $166 million in grant money to communities that hire post-9/11 veterans for new law-enforcement positions. Meanwhile, $320 million in grant money will be preferenced to various fire departments who pledge to hire and train new veterans.

The money for those grants has already been appropriated by Congress as part of programs that are broadly targeted at retaining and hiring law enforcement personnel and firefighters. But the president will seek an additional $4 billion in his upcoming budget to expand both programs with an eye toward especially awarding those communities who fill their ranks with veterans. Congress rejected a similar proposal last fall that was part of the president's broader jobs initiative.

The president also will announce that his upcoming budget will include a $1 billion proposal to create as many as 20,000 new jobs for veterans relating to conservation efforts of America's federal and state public lands.

That initiative, to be overseen by the Department of Interior, would put veterans to work in visitor and tourism-related jobs as well as positions that will assist in general upkeep and maintenance roles throughout the country's public parks and nature preserves.

"These are common-sense initiatives to serve our 9/11 veterans who are coming home," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told reporters on a conference call with reporters. "We hope Congress does its job (in approving the funding)."

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki also announced the president will propose expanding training programs for entrepreneurially focused veterans seeking to start their own businesses. This program would include online training seminars conducted by the Small Business Administration lasting as long as eight weeks and could service as many as 10,000 veterans annually, according to administration estimates.

"Our country owes them a debt of gratitude and we must ensure that veterans who come home from Afghanistan and Iraq get the opportunities they deserve," Shinseki said.

The unemployment rater for post-9/11 veterans is 11.1%, more than 2% higher than the country's overall unemployment rate. Among the president's few jobs proposals to clear Congress last year were new tax credits for businesses that hire recent veterans.

Topics: President Obama • The News • Veterans

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soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. george of the jungle

    boy the repos will go crazy over this one. sounds like a lot but if we are drawing down troops in Afganistan costs would go down plus some of these real patriotic super pacs could fund this instead of on campaigns that just bash one another. Or hey how about raising taxes on the rich repos that tell us howpatriotic they are and how unamerican the president is. Right I can see all that happening.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I agree completely

      February 3, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  2. Voice of Reason

    Going to love the explanation the Republicans have for turning this one down too

    February 3, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  3. Joey

    Being retired military myself, I think that veterans always get the short end of the stick but I admit I'm biased on this issue. We take an oath to give our lives if necessary, elected and appointed officials don't. My benefits are paltry compared to theirs, I still have to work because the military retirement is not enough to live on by itself, a congressman or senator's is, plus my retirement is still taxed at the full rate as income. Having said all that though, I always considered it a privilege to serve and would gladly do it all over again, I got to see the whole world and meet people from all walks of life which is an education in itself. One reason I have the job that I do now is because of my military experience, they especially like my work ethic and management skills. I didn't use any program to get the job, I just sold my military experience to them during the interview. Whatever the government does for veterans it's never enough, especially the men and women that sacrificed their limbs, health and mental stability. Like I said before though, I'm very biased on this issue.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • captainboss

      Well said. I concur.

      February 3, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  4. Trace

    ....I don't know Mr. President...This sounds pretty reasonable for the men and women that gave their all for this country...But the Republicans have made it pretty clear, if you present it, it will never pass; no matter who it benefits or how good it is. I think that is about as un-patriotic as it gets. So how are the Republicans the party that supports the military again? Why should we return them back to power?

    February 3, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  5. AMERICA 1st

    What else would be expected from nobama!? It wants to waste more of my tax money. Nobama is truly a tax and spend WHITE house infestation!

    February 3, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • quinLee

      So supporting our brothers and sisters that have sacrificed lives, health, family, careers, and on and on isn't "AMERICA 1st". One thing this country isn't short on is ignorance and hatred. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

      February 3, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  6. MichiganMoon

    Good idea to help veterans. I hope most of these jobs are permanent. Remember, many of the jobs in the stimulus were temporary, even though it is still counted as a job created. For example, the $500,000.00 in the stimulus to paint Salmon on Alaskan Airlines planes created jobs that are still counted, but the painting has been done and over with for awhile now.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    We had the summer of recovery didn't we? How well did that work? This program as well as the latest Housing Releif Program are working so well why don't we just float another one? After all who could be against it? The CBO is frocasting more high unemployment ahead. We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that is spent by the Federal Government. When the Government get's out of the way and reciends strangling regulations on small business the economy will get better. Until that time nothing will improve.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  8. WiredWrong Dominican Mama for Nobama, S.F.

    LOL you libtards don't get it...he's unveilling this job proposal for veterans because he is about to cut the numbers in the military...so there will be alot of unemployed veterans...

    Kind of like other libtarded plans...hey I'll create a problem, then I'll solve it and look like a hero, but the solution is going to create even more problems...just like Dodd/Frank and their fix for the problems they created, which turns out to be causing even more problems...

    February 3, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • SteveAR

      You hit the nail on the head.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  9. older than dirt

    Remember people the do nothing congress will do nothing. Republicans have only one job this year the defeat of
    Obama. I am sorry for the veterans but they are about to get caught in political battle. BTW The Republicans in Washington
    are on track to have there hat handed to them in the next election.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  10. NealPatrick

    It's just another form of socialist welfare. Taking taxpayer money and giving it to someone else is not creating anything. Its very simple, he proposes, once again, to take citizen tax payer money and give it to others for them to "hire" someone and pay them with that money. That is not job creation, that is socialism. It's taking money from Bob, giving it to Sally, and then Sally hires Frank and pays him with that money she took from Bob. That's all this administration does.

    February 3, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  11. Not Chicken Little

    Obama and his twin teleprompters just can't stop trying to buy votes by spending money we don't have. When will people wake up to this man's pandering to get votes, and the destruction of our country he's causing?

    February 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. Military retired

    Be careful what you wish for & try and see thru the smoke and mirrors. The funding is a ONE TIME expenditure to hire and train VETS & will probably last ONE YEAR. Then the local governments will have to pick up the tab & they can't afford it. That is why Emergency Personnel are being laid off. This is just another scheme to have short term instant satisfaction....

    February 4, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  13. Bill

    30% of veterans participating in the labor market own or co-own their own small business. We need a national veterans entrepreneur training initiative. Thank you Mr. President for proposing this. Bill

    February 4, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  14. corReigniggom

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    February 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Princess

    Maybe what's mentioned in the rpoert is correct. one thing is not correct which is the demonstration or revolution was not started and have not continued mainly because of that you can see so many Egyptian figures and very wealthy people, millionaires even are protesting in Tahrir sqr. It's revolution against corruption, injustice, humiliation of the Egyptian in our own beloved country, dictatorship.If it was for money, people would go home when the government granted raise to the Gov. employees as well as the army people asked for democracy, and justice.Power of technology and spiritual prayers of all Egyptian (Muslims and Christians and others) will be enough to achieve what we are all hoping for and getting closer to everyday )

    April 2, 2012 at 5:47 am |