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      Council approves veteransâ?? employment measure, traffic management plan

      Veterans seeking employment have another place to look after the Columbia city council passed a measure Monday night to help veterans who apply for city jobs.

      The measure recognizes the city as an approved training establishment with the stateâ??s Veteransâ?? Education and Training Section. This means eligible veterans hired by the city can apply for GI Bill benefits during their on-the-job training or apprenticeship phases. The measure also allows the city manager to sign Veteran Training Agreements for eligible employees.

      According to the Department of Veteransâ?? Affairs, the benefit amounts to a small, tax-free stipend to supplement a veteranâ??s wages during the training or apprenticeship phase. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, on-the-job training can last between six months and two years. Apprenticeships are generally two to five years long and combine on-the-job training with at least 144 hours per year of related technical instruction. The benefit amount varies depending on when a person served.

      Curtis Brown, who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam era, said he was proud of the city council for approving the measure. He said the city could easily address the police departmentâ??s personnel shortage simply by hiring veterans.

      â??Veterans right now are trained to protect overseas citizens and countries,â?? he said. â??We are trained to go where there is danger.â??

      Also Monday, the council approved the cityâ??s new Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, which spells out steps for residents and the city to follow when considering different types of traffic management measures like medians and traffic circles. The council also approved the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program, which allows residents to borrow radar guns from the city to track vehicle speeds through their neighborhoods. City documents show the program is designed to help residents and officials quantify any speeding problems. The cityâ??s public works director will be required to submit a report each year on the status of active or proposed traffic calming projects.