We can create a path to better jobs through a voluntary national service program.
Education has always offered the surest path for social mobility. Education is the key to our future – the key to ensuring our children have the skills and knowledge they need to get good jobs that support them and their families. That means making college, trade schools and training programs accessible and affordable.
I believe that we should create a voluntary national service program where a young person can choose to commit two years of service to their country and we’ll give them a free education in return. We did this after World War II with the G.I. Bill and it led to the greatest economic boom in the history of the world. This national service could be military or civilian. People could work in community programs around the country helping seniors, restoring wetlands, or raising literacy. The pay would be modest, but we’d offer these young people free tuition at the public institution of their choice.
We already have the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs which could serve as models for this effort. It would have the great side benefit of improving our democracy — young people would see more of our country and people. Their horizons would be broadened by getting to know other Americans and the places they live.