By Karl Gotthardt
Touting that the Administration can’t wait for Congressional Republicans to act, Matt Flavin, Director of the White House Veterans, Military Families and Wounded Warrior Task Force, Mary Wakefield, Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator and Tom Van Coverden, President of the National Association of Community Health Centers announced two initiatives destined to create jobs for veterans. According to Mary Wakefield the initiatives would be funded with funds already allocated under the Affordable Health Care and Recovery Act.
The two initiatives are:
1. Hiring 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge. This equates to approximately one veteran per community health center over the next three years. The challenge is joined by the National Association of Community Health Centers.
2. Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants. This initiative is to make it easier for veterans to use skills and training they have received in the military. The Administration would award grants to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers in physiscian assistant. A physician’s assistant would be prepared to conduct exams, emergency care and counseling.
Most medics, in my opinion, already have these skill sets, especially if they were the first responder for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. It would seem that certification should be a simple process. Physician Assistant require college though, which some combat vets may not have.
While the emphasis for these particular initiatives is on physician assistants, Tom Van Coverden mentioned that there is also room for veterans in various administrative positions, including doctors and dentists as well as other skill sets that can be used at Community Health Centres.
According to the White House, a majority of veterans live within 100 miles of a Community Health Center and as such no the community and patients. Veterans make great employees with a sense of mission and are not strangers to team work.
The announcement of these initiatives is part of President Obama’s statement this week that he will bypass the Congressional Republicans with a series of executive actions. The conference was unable to estimate how many jobs these initiatives would create, if any. In the Obama Jobs Act there is a $5600 for any business hiring a veteran. This credit would be increased to $9600 if hiring a wounded warrior.