Santa Clarita does a lot to honor its veterans. It dedicates parks, posts flags, and puts on one heck of a Fourth of July parade.
For some strange reason, the city does not give preference points to veterans as prospective job applicants. This may sound like a small thing to some, but when you are a veteran looking for employment, it matters. As a veteran myself, I can attest to the difficulty of getting a job after leaving the military. The military gives you great training and wonderful skills, but translating those skills to a civilian job application can be difficult. This is where the veteran preference comes in handy.
Cities that really appreciate the sacrifice veterans make can easily express this by giving them a leg up over other candidates. As Military Benefits puts it, “Veterans preference points is a distinct advantage of being a veteran of the United States Military.” Five or 10 points on an exam is the least our great city could do when conducting hiring. The federal government, the city of Los Angeles and the state of California apply these points. Why doesn’t the city of Santa Clarita? Perhaps they feel it diminishes the honor of serving. Maybe they expect military veterans to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and march on.
Whatever the case, our veterans need all the help they can get. According to National Coalition for the Homeless, Veterans represent about 20-25 percent of the entire homeless population on any given night. That statistic is unacceptable. For a community that honors our vets, we seem to be missing the mark. Many private businesses, such as Lockheed Martin and Home Depot, give veterans preference when conducting hiring and the city of Santa Clarita should as well. It’s the least they could do.
Chris Werthe is a Santa Clarita resident, a veteran and a former city council candidate.