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Mayor's office leads effort to place 10,000 veterans in jobs

Mayor Eric Garcetti stands on the First Street Steps to announce an initiative to help place 10,000 veterans in jobs throughout Los Angeles County.
Alice Walton/KPCC
Mayor Eric Garcetti stands outside City Hall's First Street steps to announce an initiative to help place 10,000 veterans in jobs throughout Los Angeles County.

Companies and nonprofits throughout Los Angeles County will coordinate with the L.A. Mayor's office to hire 10,000 veterans over the next three years, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday.

The city expects to spend $9 million on its work source centers over the next five years to help connect returning soldiers with the100 companies and 40 nonprofitsthat have signed on to earmark jobs for veterans. Those companies include Coca-Cola, Safeway, DreamWorks Animation and Starbucks. 

"We're not looking to run the race for anybody," Garcetti said at a news conference outside City Hall. "Everybody in life has to run the race themselves, but when somebody starts 40 yards behind everybody else or can't even get into the stadium, that's when we need to step up and help."

According to the U.S. Census, the unemployment rate among veterans in Los Angeles as of 2012 was almost 13 percent. Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national unemployment rate for veterans had dropped to 5 percent from 6.6 percent a year earlier.In California, the most recent statistics from 2013 showed an unemployment rate for veterans of 7.9 percent and 10.6 percent for those who left the military after 9/11

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined the mayor for the announcement. 

"[Veterans] make ideal employees," Ridley-Thomas said. "They are used to being on time, they follow orders and they want to move forward with their lives, and those are the kind of employees that any employer would like to hire." 

A city website to help veterans find jobs will go live in July. According to the Mayor's office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' role will be similar to the city's work source centers — helping to connect veterans with the companies in the hiring program. The California State Employment Development Department and the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service will also be involved.