Today, State Senator Ricardo Lara, who represents parts of Long Beach, announced legislation to help Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who participate in the California Conservation Corps (CCC) to transition to employment after completion of the program, his office announced today.
The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1227, dubbed the California VET (Veteran Employment & Training) Program would require the CCC to collaborate with the California Department of Veterans Affairs and the Employment Development Department (EDD) to better assist corps members who are veterans.
“These brave women and men fought for us, it’s time that we fight for them,” said Lara in a statement. “By ensuring a smooth transition from corps membership into jobs, we are making good on our promise as a state to stand up for our Veterans and help them succeed after their brave service to this country.”
According to a release issued by Lara’s office, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. created the CCC in 1976, employing young adults between 18 and 25 years of age for one year. These young adults engage in work that is primarily outdoors and focused on maintaining California’s natural resources. They plant trees, improve fish habitats and build trails in addition to improving parks and recreation areas. Over 120,000 people have participated in the program, which also has an emergency response component geared toward fighting fires, floods, earthquakes and pest infestations.
A report by the California Research Bureau found that male veterans between 18 and 24 years of age have a higher unemployment rate—20.4 percent—compared to their peers, at 16.4 percent. Similarly, females veterans under the age of 34 have higher unemployment, according to the report, at 11.6 percent compared to 8.3 percent, the same report stated.
Transition services for corps members are currently in place, but do not have specific guidelines for corps members who are veterans, a release from Lara’s office stated. While current veterans in the program have access to support services, their transition from militaristic modes of training and culture may not be fully addressed. Lara stated he is creating this legislation to address such a gap.
“This measure is about standing up for our veterans and ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Lara in a statement.