(WASHINGTON) — Following up on a proposal in his State of the Union address, President Obama on Friday will outline an initiative intended to help returning veterans find work by leveraging the skills developed in the military.
Speaking at a fire station whose firefighters were among the first to respond on 9/11, the president will detail his plan for a “Veterans Job Corps” to help veterans find work as first responders and law enforcement officers.
“We want to encourage police and fire departments around the country to take advantage of the training, skills, dedication, discipline and competence that our veterans have gained through their selfless military service,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told reporters in a preview of the president’s announcement.
At Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Va., the president will announce that his 2013 budget will include $4 billion in funding for grants to spur police officer hiring and $1 billion for grants to encourage firefighter hiring. This funding was first proposed in the president’s American Jobs Act.
Preference for these grants would be given to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans to service as police officers and firefighters.
The president’s initiative also includes a new conservation program to put veterans back to work on projects restoring the nation’s public lands and plans to expand entrepreneurship training so veterans can gain the skills they need to start new businesses.
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Aaron Smith and Jon Ostrower, CNN
Daniella Diaz and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN
Madison Park and Frank Pallotta, CNN