Jon Stewart's last day on The Daily Show will be Aug. 6, but there may be a few employees sticking around that he's been hiring on the sly: military veterans. In a surprise revelation in the New York Times, Stewart cops to a stealth "boot camp" he's been running for a couple of years to help former service members break into the TV industry and, in some cases, into employment with Stewart's own show. The intensive five-week "crash course" that teaches everything from editing to talent booking meets once a week in the evenings to accommodate veterans with full-time work schedules; the program wraps up with a career fair that has succeeded in placing some students in actual TV jobs.
The unemployment rate for veterans in 2014 was 5.3%—7.2% for vets who've been on active duty at any time since 9/11, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes. But vets drawn to the entertainment industry may have a hard time breaking in since they spent prime learning years with the military instead of in the studio, and because they may be perceived as too rigid for such a "creative industry," a board member of the Veterans in Film and Television industry group tells the Times. The host had been keeping the program on the down-low to keep show superfans out, among other reasons, but now that he's leaving the show, he hopes other TV programs will follow suit. "This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea," he says, per the Times. Bonus: Stewart tells the Times military hires are "way less whiny" than other workers.