Council Provides Veterans Job-Training Opportunities

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council authorized a veteran training program Monday night, giving eligible veterans a chance to receive GI Bill benefits during on-the-job apprenticeships.

This program designates the city of Columbia as a training establishment through the Veterans' Education and Training Section of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Veterans' Education and Training director said this program would benefit both veterans and the city.

"[Councilmembers] realize that a lot of veterans work for the city of Columbia," Chad Schatz said. "They want to take advantage of every benefit these folks are eligible for, so this is kind of an enlightenment period for us, and we're going to re-engergize this program."

Job opportunities for veterans will include the police department, fire department, water and light, as well as other training opportunities.

One Vietnam veteran said the police department should take advantage of this hiring opportunity.

"The number one thing in this city is policeman," Curtis Soul Brown said. "It's like having a lady dressed up with her favorite shoes and her favorite hairstyle, but she's got to have that makeup. The makeup here is the policemen. We got to have them."

Schatz also said this program will help create other new jobs.

"The VA benefits through the on-the-job training program turn five to seven times in the local economy," Schatz said. "This creates new jobs. Figure four or five hires creates a new job."

The city council also considered a brick-paved streets maintenance plan, but Mayor Bob McDavid said he needs a formal report from the Disabilities Commission before moving forward.

Councilmembers tabled the brick restoration plan until February.