Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2011, 2:42 P.M.

WGA: States may play increasing role for returning vets, as feds cut budgets

David Brasuell, administrator of the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, said several programs in the state are gearing up to help returning veterans. Among them: The state Department of Transportation got a grant to work with the state Department of Labor to help returning vets with experience driving heavy equipment get their commercial drivers licenses. "It's already helped 18 veterans," he said, 12 of whom have recently gotten commercial trucking jobs. The agencies are seeking a bigger grant next year to take the program statewide.

The state Department of Labor also has been holding weekly orientations for returning veterans, he said, and there's a growing inter-service family assistance council that includes the National Guard, employers, nonprofits and more. He said federal budget cuts likely will put more pressure on states to step up to provide such services. "This post-9/11 G.I. bill is the best veterans education program we've had since World War II, it's a great program," Brasuell said. But college isn't for everyone, and vocational and other programs also need to be offered, he said. "I totally agree with the general that the TAP classes need to be revamped. ... It's in need of changing." He said, "It's the inter-agency cooperation that's going to get things done.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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