Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 13 Aug 2008

From MNF-I, Southern Kirkuk Civil Service Corps established.

KIRKUK, Iraq – The official announcement of the establishment of the Southern Kirkuk Civil Service Corps was made during a commencement ceremony held at the Kirkuk Convention Center, Aug. 11.

The 12-month program is funded by Coalition forces and will employ 500 Iraqi citizens from four districts in over 20 villages within the Kirkuk Province. Those selected during a previous application process include 250 former members of the Sons of Iraq, according to Lt. Col. Dennis Sullivan, commander, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.

“The blue print took six months to develop,” Sullivan said, referring to the rigorous selection process which had Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 22 Inf. Regt. and those assigned to the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division conducting background checks and facilitating the paperwork that ensued.

The program has already provided 100 jobs to local citizens to work in administrative and teaching capacities.

The ‘Triple Deuce’ battalion facilitated the program with a paid local staff made up of college-educated citizens from Kirkuk, to including 26 women.

“As a clear indicator of the security gains in the area, we can now focus on rebuilding the infrastructure in areas once plagued by insurgents, and investing in its future—the employees and students represent some of the finest examples of citizens of Iraq,” Sullivan said during the ceremony. The other districts benefiting are Taza, Yaychi and Daquq.

The student workers will receive paid vocational classroom instruction and on-the-job training geared toward construction-related skills such as painting, carpeting and masonry. The projects will focus on the infrastructure needs of the communities such as schools, municipalities and other civil service related construction.

“One hundred and sixty-nine construction projects have already been lined up for these students,” Sheikh Mohammed Mizhar Al Shamhari, the CSC program manager told the audience attending the ceremony. “They will be involved in rebuilding their communities while learning a skill that will help them rebuild their lives too,” he said.

The list of dignitaries attending the milestone event included Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commanding general, Multi-National Division-North and 1st Armored Division, Col. David Paschal, commander, 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Kirkuk Gov. Abdul-Rahman Mostafa and key Iraqi Security forces leadership as well as local and provincial government officials.