American Forces Press Service
Sept. 17, 2008 - Former members of "Sons of Iraq" citizen security groups in Iraq's Kirkuk province took the next step in improving their communities this week as they became apprentices in the Civil Service Corps. On Sept. 14, Hawijah celebrated the start of a new CSC and the next day, two started in Dibis.
"The CSCs are intended to provide the necessary training, education and skill that will allow the graduates to seek and attain good-paying jobs and to begin the hard task of rebuilding Iraq village by village, city by city," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin Hudie, commander of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Battalion, 6th Artillery Regiment, at the Dibis commencement ceremony.
The CSC program is patterned after a U.S. depression-era job program known as the Civilian Conservation Corps, designed to put young men back to work, officials said. All of the CSC apprentices are former Sons of Iraq members who have contributed to the significant security gains in the Kirkuk province.
The Hawijah ceremony was held at the Hawijah Farmer's Union building and was attended by Army Lt. Col. Christopher Vanek, commander of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, as well as Abu Saddam, the district council chairman. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was witnessed by some of the 105 CSC apprentices who soon will learn the valuable skills needed in rebuilding their communities.
"This is a very important day for us," the district council chairman said. "Security and the economy is rising. This is a chance to start a new life. These men are learning for the future. We thank God for this opportunity. We are going to keep making Hawijah better, and better and better."
This new contract will teach Iraqi men trades that will build infrastructure in Hawijah, said Army Capt. Kurt Rudeselli of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. Trades taught will be electrical work, plumbing, sanitation and canal maintenance.
On the heels of the Hawijah ceremony was the Dibis CSC commencement ceremony, which represented two separate contracts that will employ 215 CSC apprentices.
"The Dibis CSCs were designed from many discussions with the Dibis City Council, the electrical power plant and the Northern Oil Co. to meet the future construction needs of both the electrical and oil industry that are major employers with the Dibis district," Hudie said.
The former Sons of Iraq members will receive training in carpentry, masonry and electrical work under the general construction contract. Under the industrial contract, the students will receive training in electrical motor-generator repairs, welding, electrical line repairs and industrial plumbing.
"We thank the American people for their investment in Iraq and in its people," Dibis Mayor Hadi Mustafa said during his address to guests.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)