National Service – Giving Back and Unifying

Now more than ever, cultivating a sense of unity, pride and empowerment is of vital importance. Citizens are calling for national service programs, and in CA-03, we know they stand to benefit us too. They can provide skills-training, new experiences mid career, and a way to give back in later life. Not only do we need this as a country, but people want it. So let’s lead the way in CA-03 and do it! Working with blogger and political activist, Kurt Davis, (www.kdalive.com) we’ve highlighted a path forward.

At a time when we are divided by our differences, coming together around work that is universally beneficial can have a profound impact. National service is an outstanding example. The idea of building our national service muscle has captivated American politicians across party lines, with supporters as ideologically diverse as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Stanley McChrystal and John McCain

Voters too have expressed overwhelming support for the expansion of existing programs and implementation of new ones, that way Americans have more options than ever for how to serve their country and their communities, whether at the military or civilian level. 

Not only is it popping up in public debate, but a US National Commission on Service was held from November 2018 – July 2020. The Commission, which conducted a review of the Selective Service System and investigated forms of civilian service, “was created with a broad, aspirational mandate: to develop ideas that will foster a greater ethos of military, national, and public service among Americans of all ages and, in the process, strengthen our democracy. . . We hope to ignite a national conversation around service and inspire more Americans to serve.”

Our research:

Based on our research, we have found that countries with broad, inclusive national service programs are successful not only at strengthening their national identities, but achieving ambitious public works. Two examples are Austria, where nearly half the population participates in voluntary activities, and Rwanda, which has earned a reputation for being the cleanest country in Africa thanks to its mandatory monthly service days. Nations with conscription that have created robust alternative civil service programs for conscientious objectors, such as Finland, also achieve a high level of participation. 

Accordingly, we propose to offer all levels of the population a national service option by tailoring programs to the needs and incentives of people in various stages of life.

We have identified four basic groups:
  • Early Career: Youth seeking experience and skills-training. 
  • Mid Career: Those transitioning to new careers or interested in contributing certain expertise to the country.
  • End of Career: Older adults who want to share their knowledge and experiences at a high level, or others who want to feel engaged and empowered rather than sitting at home in retirement.
Our vision:

While these programs are just ideas that we’d need to hash out, it’s a starting point for a larger scheme. Hence, we’d like to offer people the opportunity to give back, work with others from different backgrounds, and learn new skills. That trifecta is the key to a successful National Service Program!

Early Career: (18-28)

Let’s be honest, college isn’t for everyone but service can be. Those who pursue college have to navigate careers in a fast changing world. Those who don’t need skills that will allow them to earn a day’s wage without the threat of their jobs being outsourced to a robot or another country. The purpose of National Service at this age is twofold: 1) Give our youth from all walks of life real working experience and skills, and 2) provide them with a platform to connect and work together. Here are our suggested tools of service to help launch a career at an early age: 

Compensation
  • Receive free room, board and food allowance
  • Over a period of 5 years, receive up to $75K of tax-free income, a total of $100K monetary award 
  • Mortgage assistance program for home buyers 
  • $10K in education tuition paid for
Structure
  • Up to two years 
  • Volunteer at a program over 1000 miles away from home
  • Choose two programs of interest
  • Rotate programs
  • Participate in opening and closing ceremonies

 

Careers:
  • Military: Join the military as a blue-collar specialist. Learn about jobs in construction, carpentry, automobiles, airplanes and more. 
  • Technology: Participate in new technology programs offered at all of our national laboratories. These will invite and train youth on artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, super computing, and more.
  • Existing Programs: Enroll in AmeriCorp, Peace Corp, or Teach for America.
  • Healthcare: Volunteer at the VFA or other sponsored health care system. 
  • Social Work: Learn how to fix issues in our most vulnerable communities. 
  • Infrastructure: Work on key infrastructure projects like ports, railroads, bridges and more.
  • Teaching: Fill a vital role by becoming a teacher.

 

Mid-Late Stage Career Professionals (28-50)

We need to provide options for those who feel a strong calling to help their country, or who simply feel a bit stuck in their career but don’t have the funds nor the desire to go back to school. National service is the way. Here is how we will help those individuals boost their skills, make a contribution, or transition to something else:

Compensation
  • Receive free room, board and food allowance
  • Over the next 5 years, up to $75k of tax-free income, a total of $100K monetary award 
  • Reduction in capital gains tax rate at a rate of 5% any two years in the next ten
  • Mortgage assistance program for home buyers 
  • Social security top-up for two years of $10k
Structure
  • Up to two years
  • Choose one program of interest to excel in
  • Use skills to rotate to places if required
  • Participate in opening and closing ceremonies

 

In addition to the above in early career, we will add the following:
  • Government Consulting: Apply for top positions so that government officials can learn the best skills from you. Are you an excellent project manager, product manager, engineer, or executive? Then come join us.
  • Technology Intersection: Learn how technology intersects with healthcare, agriculture, and infrastructure.  
  • Non-Profit Consulting: Choose a non-profit organization approved by our initiative.
  • Foreign Policy: Many of their youths have traveled the world and this program allows them to interact and work with members of the foreign policy committees.

 

End of Career (50+)

For those who have lived a life full, we can offer the chance to make their final mark on the country. Maybe they’ve had a prolific career full of remarkable achievements that the government can learn from, or perhaps they just want to feel relevant and engaged. Either way, we want them to join us. Entering the End of Career program would offer:

Compensation
  • Receive free room, board and food allowance
  • Over the next 5 years, up to $75K of tax-free income, a total of $100K monetary award 
  • Reduction in capital gains tax at a rate of 5% any two years in the next ten
  • Mortgage assistance program for home buyers 
  • Social security top-up for two years of $10K
  • Reduction of Traditional IRA tax withdrawal
Structure
  • Up to two years
  • Volunteer at a program close to home

 

In addition to the aforementioned programs, these new ones will be offered: 
  • Executive Consulting: Have you been an executive and would like to assist our government leaders or politicians? Enroll now. 
  • Government Services: Work at any of the government services offices like SSA, DMV, VFA, and more. 

 

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