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Poll of more than 5k recently discharged vets told ‘sad tale’ about transition help

Brigadier General Robert F. Hedelund, addressing how states can better help returning veterans, said, “This is a very, very important subject to the Marine Corps.” He said the military can't promise veterans jobs outside the service, “but we can promise them, I think, opportunity … make sure they're as prepared as we can make them.” The Transition Assistance Program that all branches of the military, including the Marines, offer, “has not been renovated, retooled, re-looked at in 19 years,” Hedelund said. “I think everybody in this room can acknowledge that a lot has happened in our country in 29 years, so it's time to start looking at this.”

The Marines have polled more than 5,000 who have left the service over the last year or so, and asked them what they got out of transition assistance, he said. “And it's a pretty sad tale.” Among the challenges: Preparations need to start long before discharge, to give military members the tools they'll need well in advance. “Career-long learning is what we're talking about,” he said, and it's being developed now. The new program will include four “pathways,” he said: Career-oriented, for those who want to make a career of skills they've learned in the military; vocational training, for those who need training for a different vocation; education; and entrepreneurship. He said, “We know that this is going to take a team effort, and we're ready to join the team.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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