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Buttigieg's National Service Plan Would Enlist Millions

Buttigieg wants volunteers to work for community health, senior care
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who addressed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention on Tuesday, has proposed a national service plan.   (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

(Newser) – Pete Buttigieg hopes to see 1 million more young people volunteer to serve their country, and not just in the military. The Democratic presidential candidate, who signed up for the Navy Reserve after college and was deployed to Afghanistan, announced a plan Wednesday to create new service corps opportunities centered on senior care, climate issues, and community health, the Washington Post reports. One year of service would entitle participants to student loan relief. Buttigieg has spoken of his military experience as transformative, especially the connections he formed with people of different backgrounds and beliefs. "You shouldn't have to go to war in order to have that kind of experience," he said in a statement, "which is why I am proposing a plan to create more opportunities for national service."

There's a demand for such opportunities, Buttigieg says. The acceptance rate is 13% for AmeriCorps, 25% for the Peace Corps, and 20% for the military, per Vox. The Democrat's plan would immediately raise the number of available national service positions from the current 75,000 to 250,000, per Politico. The recruiting emphasis would be on students at high schools, community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and vocational schools, and anyone between 16 and 24 who isn't in school or working. The program would be run by a chief service officer and would aim to eventually establish a pipeline for as many as 4 million high school graduates every year to enter national service. The potential cost wasn't specified. Buttigieg said he hopes that "Where did you serve?" someday becomes as basic a question in a job interview as "Where did you go to college?" is now. (Read more Pete Buttigieg stories.)

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