What makes this organization different is that recognizes the considerable investment the United States has in its soldiers. These men and women come back to civilian life with a broad array of skills and the discipline to use them as part of a team. They have an understanding about being part of a larger effort and the greater good. This kind of social capital is largely wasted in our society where people are disposable, especially in this economy.
Veterans Green Jobs knows that veterans are an incredible resource for fledgling green industries. These former service men and women are professionals. Regardless of their education or skill level, they are trained to do their jobs and do them as if their lives depend on it. Their entry into a sector with so much opportunity and now stimulus money could be transformative.
But it isn't a simple process. Many of the veterans need specialized education and training to enter these new industries. They bring tremendous personal skills to the table, but the specialized jobs skills are another matter. Veterans Green Jobs has developed a model for rapid training and deployment, which moves the vets quickly from the classroom to the work force. For example, in 8 weeks the veterans can garner three national certifications and a college certificate which would normally take a semester.
The college certificate is important for two reasons. First, it is a completion point for college. You can graduate from a community college with a certificate. Second, it allows for the transfer of military service credit to a local community college. Once, there these credits give the veteran a jump start on completing an associate's degree. Veterans Green Jobs facilitates this transfer for the vet. It is also negotiating articulated transfer agreements for vets who wish to go on to pursue a bachelor's degree.
Site Map Providing the support for the veterans to be successful in the green civilian workforce is as much a part of the mission of Veterans Green Jobs as providing the education and training. Because there are many resources out there for supporting vets, Veterans Green Jobs works with these agencies and organizations to connect the vets to them. It works to de-stigmatize the use of these services and makes sure the vets know how and who to connect with. It also develops a peer support network to encourage vets to help each other.
Veterans Green Jobs has a powerful working model. This has attracted some strong support. General Wesley Clark and former CIA Director James Woolsey have both tentatively agreed to positions on the Advisory Council. Other partners in developing programs include the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the US Green Building Council. Capital Hill has also begun taking a positive notice of the organization.
There have been reports that name America's lack of sustainability as a national security threat. So there is a certain amount of irony in our veterans providing for better national security as they enter the civilian workforce in green industries. But one thing is for certain, whether they are in fighting men and women or greening men and women, they are serving to make our country safer.
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