Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney would reinstate the military draft as part of his plan to establish a mandatory service program.
Under Delaney’s National Service plan, all Americans would be required to serve their country for one or two years when they graduate high school, or turn 18, with no exceptions.
While serving their country, participants will be paid, and in exchange, they will receive two years of free tuition at a public college or university.
If they choose to serve for two years, they will receive three years of tuition at a public college or university. This benefit can also be applied to vocational or technical training.
In addition to this educational benefit, participants will also get work experience and learn new skills, better preparing them for the rest of their careers.
“Our country is so terribly divided right now and it’s getting worse every day, especially when we have a White House that isn’t interested in bringing people together,” said Delaney. “We need big transformational change to stop America from dividing any further.”
“It’s time to bring the country together, restore our sense of shared purpose and a common and inclusive national destiny,” said Delaney. “By mandating national service we build a future where young people begin their adult lives serving their country and working alongside people from different backgrounds.”
“Where people from Massachusetts and Florida and Oklahoma work alongside each other; where people who grew up in the suburbs, in farm towns, in coal country, in urban communities get to know each other, get to learn from each other and get to see firsthand that we still have a lot in common,” said Delaney.
Delaney says bringing young people from different backgrounds together will provide opportunities for them to give back to their country while meeting and working with Americans from all backgrounds.
Under Delaney’s National Service plan, every American born after 2006, will complete one or two years of mandatory national service when they graduate high school, or turn 18 choosing one of four options.
The choices include serving in our nation’s military, in a new expanded community service program, a new national infrastructure apprenticeship program or in a newly created Climate Corps.
Community Service would operate similarly to AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, and participants would work on projects such as mentoring and literacy tutoring for disadvantaged students, awareness programs for public health campaigns, outreach activities for social service programs, and structured after school care programs.
The government would enter into partnerships with private companies and trade unions to offer infrastructure apprenticeships working on contracts to renovate federal buildings to make them environmentally green.
The programs can leverage the successful apprenticeship model used by the trade unions, so participants could earn a professional certificate proving mastery of particular skill sets.
To implement infrastructure apprenticeships, all federal contractors would be required to design and implement an apprentice program.
Delaney says this would encourage other companies to do their patriotic duty and follow suit, perhaps using a model that’s been tremendously successful in Switzerland, where companies pay students to work as part-time apprentices.
To fight climate change, participants in a new Climate Corps would assist in clean energy projects, including solar installation, improving building efficiency, developing community gardens, and increasing awareness about sustainable practices.
The Climate Corps would provide information and support to families about sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy while participants would be stationed in rural and low-income areas to assist communities’ transition to a green economy and invest in environmentally friendly projects.
The program will be paid with salaries or stipends based on regional cost of living and whether housing is provided through the program, plus workers will earn tuition and fees at a public university.
Not only would participants learn skills to be used for future jobs, but they would be exposed to people from different economic backgrounds, from all parts of the country, and with different political beliefs, which will restore an understanding of our common American identity and renew belief in our common purpose.
The service corps would also be a boost for local infrastructure, conservation, and community projects that creates a nationwide sense of service and patriotism, according to Delaney.
Delaney is a centrist Democrat born in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, who is running for President of the United States in 2020. He was the United States Representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2019.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!