Thursday, September 22, 2005

Poverty Draft

on the tenth day of opt out a recruiter said to me...
"We'll supply your food, put a roof over your head, and you won't have to worry about what clothes to wear. And when you're done, you'll have job skills and money for college."
People worry about whether or not we will see a return of a military draft, but we have a draft going on right now-- a "poverty draft". Due to government cutbacks on funding for job training, educational costs rising, and a slowly recovering economy, low-income families are preyed on by recruiters who promise a way out of poverty.
The military spends millions each year on marketing that targets young people, promising "up to" thousands of dollars in pay- but they don't tell you that there are only a few positions that qualify for the highest end of the pay promised. They tell you the job skills will prepare you to get a job in the civilian world- but they don't tell you that many things the military trains you for don't qualify for a civilian job.
I recently talked with a young man who had done six years in the army, driving large equipment- tanks and such- from one military base in the country to another. And when the six year were up, he tried to get a truck driving job. It turned out that he still had to take months of training to get licensed to drive for a trucking company- the certificate he got from the army didn't do him any good with any of the companies he applied to. You might work with computers in the army, but they are often old and out of date models, and you won't be ready to use the skills necessary to keep up in the civilian world.
And what about the things the military does have- the realities of injury, PTSD, or death in a combat zone. Some recruiters have gone back to using an old line- that life here in the US is more dangerous than in Iraq! Some students got recruiters on tape using this line- and then got the facts on the real percentage of deaths from car accidents in their county. Numbers the recruiters throw around may make the military sound like a good deal- but do some research, and you may find some better ways to get scholarships and job training. And you won't be asked to kill someone.
On average, the Army spends about $13,000 in recruitment advertising to get one young person enrolled -- about what it costs New York’s public school system per year to educate one child, according to a Village Voice article. The misplaced priorities of the current (and past) administrations try to leave students believing they have no other options- but counter recruiters across the country are working to counter this myth.
-Project YANO- Project on Youth and Non-Military Options- you can download these brochures
Examples of Careers in Peacemaking and Social
Choosing a Career that Pays in Many Ways
-Travel the world and help people with Volunteers for Peace
-Free scholarship seaches
Join UFPJ in Washington, DC or
Get out in the streets of your town on Sept. 24
and make your voice heard-
End the war in Iraq,
Take care of folks in our communities,
Get recruiters out of our schools,
andBring the troops home NOW!

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