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Mayor Garcetti Commits to Initiative to Hire Veterans PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 12 June 2014 01:34

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - With the majority of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan due to return home soon, Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to help at least 10,000 veterans get hired over the next three years in Los Angeles.

Veterans need to be greeted with "more than a smile and a warm hug -- they need housing, jobs and full integration into civilian life,'' Garcetti said in announcing the initiative during a news conference on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall.

The mayor, himself a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, said the city plans to "make 10,000 veteran jobs a reality by 2017 in Los Angeles,'' and to "make our veterans workforce here the best in the nation.''

The city is partnering with more than 100 employers, and 40-plus services groups and public agencies, to achieve the goal, the mayor said.

Union Pacific Railroad has committed to hiring veterans, while groups such as the state Employment Development Department and federal Veterans Affairs offices will offer workshops on interviewing skills, teach employers about veteran workers and refer veterans to employers.

Elise Buik, president of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, said the nonprofit plans to place 5,000 veterans in jobs by 2017.

The city of Los Angeles has promised that 10 percent of the clients at its WorkSource centers will be veterans, and will unveil an online jobs portal that is expected to make it easier for veterans to access services.

Veterans "are all tested'' and "face many obstacles adjusting to civilian life,'' according to county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who joined Garcetti to announce the initiative.

Many of the skills that veterans obtain while serving in the military, "such as welding, or truck driving or even saving people's lives, and the work they do, is not often recognized,'' he said. "This puts veterans at a disadvantage, and the numbers bear this out.''

Ridley-Thomas said the initiative shows Los Angeles is not willing to let veterans down.

"Together we can show our gratitude to these men and women who have sacrificed so much,'' he said.

About 50,000, or 15 percent, of the 330,000 veterans living in Los Angeles County are unemployed, according to Ridley-Thomas' office, which referred to figures furnished by Garcetti's veterans affairs coordinator, Joseph Chicas.

Veterans in the city of Los Angeles make up 40 percent of all unemployed veterans in the county, with the Los Angeles area expected to see an influx of another 20,000 "post 9/11 veterans'' between now until 2017, according to Chicas' numbers. Chicas said the partner agencies and employers have agreed to report back quarterly on their progress in achieving the 10,000 jobs goal. The 2013 unemployment rate for veterans in California is 7.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.