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Proposed internship program for veterans sent to full Council

Summary

Exploring ways to incorporate technical and leadership skills into county job pool

Story

The Metropolitan King County Council’s Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance today sent to the full County Council, with a “do pass” recommendation, a motion calling on King County to explore ways to tap the skills and knowledge of King County veterans.

“The unemployment rate for our returning heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan has remained much higher than the national average,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion. “The Veterans Internship Program will take important steps at the County level to train, place and employ our veterans and help reverse this trend of higher unemployment among returning members of the armed forces. We owe our veterans a great debt for their service and I look forward to seeing this program being fully implemented.”

“Providing job opportunities during this tough economy is one of the best ways to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, chair of the Government Accountability, Oversight, and Financial Performance Committee. “A veteran’s internship program will benefit veterans by helping translate their knowledge and skills to a civilian work environment, and will benefit King County by developing and empowering a quality workforce.”

“Transitioning to civilian life can be smoother and more productive for veterans who can find meaningful work right away,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, chair of the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “At the same time, citizens can benefit from the skills, experience and dedication to public service that these veterans bring with them. They have sacrificed for us, and we need to show our appreciation.”

One of the greatest challenges facing veterans returning to civilian life is employment. Many veterans return with technical and leadership skills gained during their training and deployment that could translate well to civilian governmental jobs—with a little help.

The proposed motion calls on the Human Resources Management Division of the Department of Executive Services to explore ways of implementing a veterans internship program and presenting the results of their inquiry to the Council by August 23, 2012.

The report would evaluate existing county employment policies and practices for veterans and make recommendations on the establishment of paid and unpaid veterans internship programs. It would also explore the potential costs to operate the veterans internship program and possible funding sources for the paid veterans internship program. With the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles having similar programs in place, the proposed motion calls for an analysis of comparable veteran internship programs instituted by other governments.

The motion has been sent to the full Council for discussion and final action, which is expected to occur at the Council’s April 23 meeting.



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