Mayor Carolyn Goodman challenges Obama to find jobs for troops
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman challenges President Obama to find jobs for troops returning from Iraq. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Military families were among those who greeted President Obama at McCarran Airport when he visited Las Vegas on Monday.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman was also there, and says their loved ones are among her major concerns.
"We have all these people coming out of the military, back to this country, to no job," Mayor Goodman told Action News. "And my recommendation, which I didn't have a chance to tell him was, keep everybody in the military for at least 18 months, so they have an income, so they can adjust and acclimate to being back in a day to day life."
Barry Saintsing also fears for troops returning to Nevada's 13.4 percent unemployment rate. He says, "Especially your guard and reservists who are kind of part-time doing duty, and then they come back and they may lose their job while they're deployed."
Emily Minkle manages the Employment Enhancement Program for the Nevada National Guard. She helps returning troops find jobs with private employers, but acknowledges certain challenges.
"Our service members face a special difficulty in that they do serve and sometimes they're not able to commit to the work schedules that our civilian counterparts can," Minkle said.
A civilian military employee acknowledges another potential problem.
"When budget cuts arrive you're gonna find that a lot of the troops returning aren't going to have the amount of quality service that they've come to expect," he said.
Mayor Goodman says that's unacceptable.
"The federal government who's been paying the bill to send everybody abroad needs to step up to the plate," she said.
President Obama has proposed tax credits for companies that hire unemployed and wounded veterans, but Congress has not complied. Meanwhile, he's ordered the Department of Defense to set up a "reverse boot camp" to train troops to re-enter the work force. The Nevada National Guard's Employment Enhancement Program is matching returning soldiers with private businesses.