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Projects in State Parks Help Returning Veterans Learn News Skills
Posted: 01/24/2012
DES MOINES – A program administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to assist returning military veterans recently received mention on the official White House blog.

On a post earlier this month, the Iowa Green Veterans AmeriCorps (IGVA) program was mentioned as one of the successful programs being used to assist veterans in finding jobs. The Iowa program is designed to connect military veterans with meaningful employment opportunities in green jobs and the natural resources field through duties like assisting rural, low-income, and elderly residents identify and implement energy improvements, engage in disaster recovery efforts, and stewardship activities in Iowa state parks.

The Iowa program currently has 10 full-time veterans participating in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. The vets are assisting Des Moines Habitat for Humanity install energy efficient improvements such as installing insulation, windows, doors and caulking around these improvements to seal the house properly to increase efficiency.  Cedar Rapids vets are helping the Habitat for Humanity “Rock the Block” program create a type of mobile energy efficiency rolling tool kit to install energy efficient measures in low income and elderly people’s homes in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas. The goal is to work on 50 homes from now until March.

From April to November, the veterans will be working in state parks to help with infrastructure improvements at Gull Point, Lake Ahquabi, Big Creek, Pleasant Creek and Palisades-Kepler. An additional 20 veterans will be added part-time this spring to work on state park projects at Clear Lake, Ledges, Wilson Island, Lake Manawa, Backbone and Wildcat Den.

“Iowa continues to lead the way to get veterans back to work teaching them new skills along with helping others and improving our state parks.  It’s one of the first of its kind programs in the nation and we are proud to lead by example,” said Linda King, volunteer program director for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.