By Staff Sgt. Margaret C. Nelson
1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
RIYADH, Iraq – In the ongoing Iraq-wide effort to transition Sons of Iraq members and provide jobs to Iraqi citizens, local government and tribal leaders in Riyadh along with Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 87th Inf. Regt., 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division held a ribbon-cutting ceremony announcing the establishment of the Riyadh civil service corps, Sept. 9, 2008.
The Riyadh civil service corps is a 12-month program that will initially be funded by the coalition force to provide paid vocational classroom instruction and on the job training to its students beginning with 250 former Riyadh Sons of Iraq. It is patterned after the 1930s U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps that provided jobs to combat unemployment during the Great Depression, putting U.S. citizens back to work assisting with infrastructure needs in their respective communities.
The Riyadh general construction project is the first of the two programs the Riyadh civil service corps will provide, focusing on the infrastructure needs of the communities in the sub-district of Riyadh, located in the southern portion of the Hawijah District. It will provide training geared toward general construction-related skills and will include electrical, plumbing and carpentry, according to Capt. Jon Anderson, commander, Company D, 1st Battalion, 87th Inf. Regt.
The second is the Riyadh road construction project, which will equip students with road-paving skills. These students will later be utilized as "much-needed road crews, repairing heavily traveled roads throughout the sub-district," Anderson said.
"Now that our security forces have regained the security in our neighborhoods, we are able to concentrate on our people and the needs of our villages," Riyadh Mayor Mohammad Ahmad Hussein said during the ceremony. "With our own hands we will rebuild our communities—our future—and we are very grateful to the coalition force for their friendship and assistance in making this day possible."
Anderson added that the day's event could not have been possible without, "the efforts of your Iraqi security forces and all of you—the people of Riyadh." He wished them success with their schooling. "You will never forget the destruction that your enemies caused to your lives, and you will always remember your contributions to the rebirth of your communities," he said.