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National Service Will Empower Nation's Youth

National Service Will Empower Nation's Youth

(Erin Alexis Randolph/Dreamstime)

By Monday, 08 June 2020 01:32 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In light of the pandemic, social unrest, and economic uncertainty now more than ever we must unify as a nation to help make our country a better place for everyone.

The best way to do that is by investing in our present and our future.

National service for those aged 18 to 22 will take a great burden off the labor market at a time of high unemployment. It will give our youth, regardless of class and status, the assignment of contributing to the betterment of their lives and of our country.

National service can take a variety of forms.

Some may want to serve in the military while others may want to serve in the U.S. Park Service, homeless shelters, charities, churches, etc.

Everyone can do at least something, and all must do what they can.

A national sense of purpose and community is what's missing in our youth today.

My mother used to repeat a quote which is very true, "an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop," (attributable to the 4th century Saint Jerome and Mahatma Gandhi).

Youth needs to learn that a life is incomplete without service to a cause bigger than themselves. Service, that is, giving back and learning and appreciating the good America has to offer is crucial, as it helps to change much of what's wrong in the United States.

Through and under national service, all youth aged 18-22 would be screened for aptitude and placement.

They would then actually be offered choices of service.

For example, some may wish to stay close to home, while others may want to relocate for a time. All would be paid for their contributions commensurate with their service given and locality of their assignment.

A successful completion of such service for many will be life changing for many.

They will find careers, while others will be exposed to people and experiences they never would have — but for national service.

Let’s face it, as people live longer adolescence and coming of age is prolonged.

It's not cliché to say that an 18-year-old 50 years ago was much more mature than an 18-year-old today. To think that 50 years ago that a parent would be responsible for the medical care of a 26-year-old son or daughter would be unthinkable.

Some may also be able to obtain college credits for their service while others might be able to obtain accreditations for vocational skills.

All would receive the equivalent of an honorable discharge upon successful completion of their service.

The president should add another Cabinet level department to the executive branch: The Department of National Service. The secretary of that department would work with all Cabinet offices to establish within their respective departments an Office of National Service.

All Cabinet-level agencies would be responsible for offering national service opportunities to those who serve. Additionally, the secretary of national service would work with the private sector creating opportunities and incentives for placement across a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations, inclusive of not-for-profits and faith-based entities.

Yet, national service is not a new or novel concept.

Many countries already have such a requirement; youth are mandated by law to perform a year or more of service and are offered a choice between community service and the military.

For example, Israel requires mandatory military service for all citizens over the age of 18 for two years.

By investing in our youth today, we are empowering them to become better people and more productive and appreciative citizens tomorrow.

Our nation will benefit greatly from their service and they will learn invaluable skills, inclusive of life's lessons in general.

Now is the time for youth possessing sincere goodwill to come to the aid of America.

Bradley A. Blakeman was a deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004. A principal of the 1600 Group, a strategic communications firm, he is an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a frequent guest on Fox News and Fox Business. Mr. Blakeman is also a registered lobbyist for the Communications Workers of America. Read Bradley Blakeman's Reports — More Here.

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By investing in our youth today, we are empowering them to become better people and more productive and appreciative citizens tomorrow.
college, vocational, military
Monday, 08 June 2020 01:32 PM
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