Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

05/18/2021 01:00 PM House MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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01:06:57 PM Start
01:07:54 PM HR9
01:26:56 PM Presentation: Redefining Veteran Success
01:55:56 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HR 9 Out of Committee
+ Presentation: Redefining Veteran Success by Kyle TELECONFERENCED
Kaiser, President, Viper Transitions Program
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                          May 18, 2021                                                                                          
                           1:06 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Chris Tuck, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
Representative David Nelson                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                                                          
Encouraging the homeporting of new United States Coast Guard                                                                    
icebreakers in the state.                                                                                                       
     - MOVED HR 9 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PRESENTATION: REDEFINING VETERAN SUCCESS                                                                                        
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HR 9                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: HOMEPORT ICEBREAKERS IN AK                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, introduced HR 9.                                                                       
KYLE KAISER, President                                                                                                          
VIPER Transitions                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a  PowerPoint on VIPER Transitions                                                             
during the presentation on Redefining Veteran Success.                                                                          
RYAN GOERTSEN, Vice-President of Aviation Workforce                                                                             
AAR Corp                                                                                                                        
Chicago, Illinois                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Provided   information   during   the                                                             
presentation on Redefining Veteran Success.                                                                                     
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CHRIS TUCK  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  1:06   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Nelson, Claman, Tarr,  Story, Shaw, and Tuck were                                                               
present at  the call to  order.  Representative  Rauscher arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                HR 9-HOMEPORT ICEBREAKERS IN AK                                                                             
1:07:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  RESOLUTION  NO. 9,  "Encouraging  the  homeporting of  new                                                               
United States Coast Guard icebreakers in the state."                                                                            
1:08:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  as  prime sponsor,  introduced  HR  9 as  a  simple                                                               
resolution that  says all  due consideration  should be  given to                                                               
Alaska, as  the only Arctic  state, in homeporting  decisions for                                                               
the  new U.S.  Coast Guard  icebreakers.   He described  learning                                                               
that the Coast Guard was  proposing a renovation and expansion of                                                               
its Seattle, Washington, base in  anticipation of homeporting its                                                               
icebreakers.    He   stated  the  desire  to   keep  assets  that                                                               
"rightfully  belong to  Alaska"  within the  state and  expressed                                                               
frustration that 1,000 employees  of the Alaska Fisheries Science                                                               
Center, dedicated  solely to managing Alaska  fisheries, live and                                                               
work in  Seattle.   He held  that there  are notable  Coast Guard                                                               
assets  within  Alaska,  in  particular the  Port  of  Nome,  and                                                               
described  working  with  Representative McCabe,  a  Coast  Guard                                                               
veteran, in drafting the proposed resolution.                                                                                   
1:11:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON observed that  the article from The Seattle                                                               
Times [included  in the committee  packet] stated that  the Coast                                                               
Guard first  announced the intention to  homeport the icebreakers                                                               
in Seattle in  2019.  He asked whether there  were discussions at                                                               
the time about suggesting Alaska as the homeport.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS replied,  "No, this  is the  first                                                               
time   that    the   legislature   has    advocated   homeporting                                                               
[icebreakers]  in Alaska."   He  said homeporting  decisions have                                                               
not been made for several icebreakers.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON  asked whether  the  ports  in Alaska  are                                                               
capable of housing vessels the size of the icebreakers.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  stated his understanding  that the                                                               
Coast Guard base  in Kodiak has substantial facilities,  and if a                                                               
base  with  sufficient  capacity  doesn't  exist  in  Alaska,  it                                                               
should.   He  opined that  appropriations to  sustain homeporting                                                               
large vessels  should go to  ports and associated  communities in                                                               
Alaska instead  of out of  state.   He said research  vessel (RV)                                                               
Fairweather, with  a $20 million appropriation,  is homeported in                                                               
Astoria, Oregon when it should be in Ketchikan.                                                                                 
CHAIR TUCK  expressed his  agreement with  Representative Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins' statements and  noted that Kodiak has  the largest Coast                                                               
Guard base in the world.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON  suggested  editing the  language  of  the                                                               
proposed   resolution  to   include  encouraging   investment  in                                                               
Alaska's ports.                                                                                                                 
1:14:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins whether                                                               
he felt  offering a backup  option would strengthen  the proposed                                                               
resolution, in case the Coast  Guard doesn't want to homeport its                                                               
entire fleet in Alaska.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   explained  that   this  proposed                                                               
resolution isn't  intended to  encourage homeporting  all vessels                                                               
in Alaska  at the exclusion of  Seattle, but to declare  that the                                                               
bulk of the vessels should be  in Alaska.  He expressed that, due                                                               
to  the  haste  in  drafting   the  proposed  resolution,  he  is                                                               
agreeable to any necessary reframing.                                                                                           
1:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TUCK reminded  committee members  that  HR 9  is a  simple                                                               
resolution that doesn't need committee referral.                                                                                
1:17:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  noted  that the  planning  process  for                                                               
Coast  Guard  base  improvements  began  the  prior  week,  which                                                               
started the 45-day public comment period.   He asked whether HR 9                                                               
is intended  "to be a  public comment for this  public commenting                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS responded  that  the  goal of  the                                                               
proposed  resolution   is  to   give  the   Alaska  congressional                                                               
delegation  another  tool  in   their  advocacy  for  homeporting                                                               
icebreakers  in  Alaska.    He  specified  that  HR  9  would  be                                                               
delivered to U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER referred  to page 2, lines  26-28, of the                                                               
proposed resolution,  which read "BE  IT RESOLVED that  the House                                                             
of Representatives  encourages proposed  new United  States Coast                                                               
Guard  icebreakers to  be strategically  homeported in  the state                                                               
rather than in the Port of  Seattle."  He suggested replacing "in                                                               
the state  rather than in the  Port of Seattle." with  "in Alaska                                                               
rather than in the Port of Seattle."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS expressed his agreement.                                                                          
1:18:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins whether                                                               
he had shared the proposed resolution with the Coast Guard.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS responded that  the plan is to send                                                               
HR 9 to "any and every"  relevant entity, which would include the                                                               
Coast Guard.   He said there is a teleconference  with the Alaska                                                               
congressional  delegation  planned for  the  end  of May,  during                                                               
which icebreaker homeporting would be addressed.                                                                                
1:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TUCK discussed  his sponsorship  of  House Resolution  13,                                                               
introduced  during  the  Thirty-First Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
which  was a  resolution to  name an  icebreaker "Polar  Bear" in                                                               
recognition of the U.S. Revenue  Cutter (USRC) Bear, commissioned                                                               
to  USRC Service  in 1885.    It served  as a  federal court  and                                                               
patrolled, surveyed,  and delivered  mail and supplies  in Alaska                                                               
until its decommission in 1929.                                                                                                 
1:21:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR expressed  that she  was satisfied  with the                                                               
information provided  by Representative Kreiss-Tomkins  and would                                                               
not offer any amendments.                                                                                                       
1:22:18 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
1:22:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  referred to the previously  suggested change                                                               
in the  text [in HR 9,  page 2, line  27] from "in the  state" to                                                               
"in Alaska", and  suggested it could be made now  as a conceptual                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS replied that  he would consult with                                                               
Representative McCabe as co-drafter  to specify the new language.                                                               
He said that he may suggest  a floor resolution and expressed his                                                               
hope for a unanimous adoption.                                                                                                  
1:26:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK opened  public testimony on HR 9.   After ascertaining                                                               
that no one wished to testify, he closed public testimony.                                                                      
1:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  moved to report  HR 9 out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no objection, HR  9 was moved out of the House                                                               
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                            
^PRESENTATION: Redefining Veteran Success                                                                                       
            PRESENTATION: Redefining Veteran Success                                                                        
1:26:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK announced that the final  order of business would be a                                                               
presentation  by   Kyle  Kaiser,  President,   VIPER  Transitions                                                               
1:27:42 PM                                                                                                                    
KYLE  KAISER,  President,   VIPER  Transitions,  introduced  Ryan                                                               
Goertsen of  AAR Corp, one  of VIPER's partners, to  describe the                                                               
value of the program from  an employer's perspective, and he said                                                               
he  would  present a  PowerPoint  on  VIPER [Veteran  Internships                                                               
Providing Employment  Readiness] Transitions  ("VIPER") following                                                               
Mr. Goertsen's remarks.                                                                                                         
1:28:16 PM                                                                                                                    
RYAN GOERTSEN,  Vice-President of  Aviation Workforce,  AAR Corp,                                                               
said  that AAR  Corp ("AAR")  is a  global and  aerospace company                                                               
headquartered in  Chicago, with  maintenance repair  and overhaul                                                               
facilities  throughout  the  U.S.   He  described  AAR's  Ethics,                                                               
Airworthiness, Greatness,  Leadership, Engagement  (EAGLE) Career                                                               
Pathway  Program, which  works with  schools  and communities  to                                                               
educate  students about  a career  path in  aviation maintenance.                                                               
He said AAR  granted VIPER Transitions $25,000  for investment in                                                               
equipment  and  subsequently  developed its  12-week  Skillbridge                                                               
Program   based   on   Federal  Aviation   Administration   (FAA)                                                               
curriculum  and  in  partnership  with  the  Aeronautical  Repair                                                               
Station  Association   (ARSA)  and  the  Aviation   Institute  of                                                               
Maintenance (AIM).   He  explained that, as  a large  employer of                                                               
skilled technicians, AAR had over  200 openings prior to COVID-19                                                               
and  noted that  careers in  aviation maintenance  are lucrative.                                                               
Mr.  Goertsen  explained that  Mr.  Kaiser  approached him  about                                                               
applying  AAR's  EAGLE Career  Pathway  Program  to veterans  and                                                               
highlighted the  skills veterans  acquire during their  period of                                                               
service, which would often be a natural fit with AAR's programs.                                                                
1:32:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KAISER began  his PowerPoint presentation with  slide 2, "Our                                                               
Mission," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     To end  veteran suicide through the  elimination of its                                                                    
     main  causes:  veteran  unemployment,  underemployment,                                                                    
     substance abuse, homelessness,  and a fractured support                                                                    
     system.  We  work  to accomplish  our  mission  through                                                                    
     preemployment training,  resource networking, outreach,                                                                    
     and the inclusion of military spouses in our programs.                                                                     
MR.  KAISER  stressed that  the  program  is designed  to  "catch                                                               
veterans before they're in crisis,"  which is done by eliminating                                                               
the  gap between  military and  civilian careers.   He  presented                                                               
slide 4, "What We Do," which read as follows [original                                                                          
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                    PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRAINING                                                                                   
     ?  Our  programs  guarantee   placement  in  a  career.                                                                    
     Whether the  participant receives direct entry  into an                                                                    
     apprenticeship  or  learns  needed  skills  through  an                                                                    
     internship, VIPER participants are set up for success.                                                                     
                      RESOURCE NETWORKING                                                                                     
     ?  Participants  are  introduced to  numerous  Veterans                                                                    
     Service Organizations,  the VA system, and  a community                                                                    
     of   fellow   veterans    already   employed   in   the                                                                    
     participants' future  career. Providing  mentorship and                                                                    
     introduction  to  valuable  resources before  they  are                                                                    
     ?  Outreach  programs  establish a  quality  connection                                                                    
     with participants allowing VIPER  to assess and clearly                                                                    
     understand participant's career  needs, while providing                                                                    
     an opportunity  to answer  questions and  concerns they                                                                    
     may have  about their transition from  the military. We                                                                    
     strive to  ensure veterans  know we  are here  for them                                                                    
     through combating invasive  species in Operation Combat                                                                    
     Pike, deep sea fishing with  Fish to End 22, staffing a                                                                    
     booth at job fairs,  or simply participating in veteran                                                                    
     focused events.                                                                                                            
MR.  KAISER presented  slide 5,  "Operation  Combat Pike,"  which                                                               
displayed a  picture of two men  fishing.  He said  that both men                                                               
are now "happily  employed," one as an electrician  and the other                                                               
working in  communications.   Slide 5  read as  follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     VIPER  introduces veterans  to  resources available  to                                                                    
     them through  other Veteran Serving  Organizations, the                                                                    
     VA, and more.                                                                                                              
     Veterans   meet  other   veterans   already  in   their                                                                    
     prospective  career  field   and  have  direct  contact                                                                    
     numbers  for   people  committed  to   supporting  them                                                                    
     through transition.                                                                                                        
     This  program  also  assists the  State  of  Alaska  in                                                                    
     combating invasive Northern Pike.                                                                                          
MR. KAISER paraphrased  slide 6, "Fish To End 22,"  which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     This program operates primarily on the East Coast.                                                                         
     Like Operation  Combat Pike veterans are  introduced to                                                                    
     resources and a support network.                                                                                           
     This  program  also  competes  in  fishing  tournaments                                                                    
     where the proceeds go to fund VIPER training programs.                                                                     
MR. KAISER explained  that Fish To End 22 is  an outreach program                                                               
during  which  veterans are  educated  on  resources and  support                                                               
networks  while on  a fishing  trip.   He  said in  that type  of                                                               
setting a veteran is much more  likely to retain information.  He                                                               
explained,  "To us,  they're  not  a number.    In  order to  end                                                               
veteran suicide, you  can't treat them like they're  a number and                                                               
just  pump them  through a  process.   It  doesn't work,  there's                                                               
plenty of  evidence to  show the  system currently  doesn't work,                                                               
and so we're trying to change it up."                                                                                           
1:37:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KAISER presented slide 7,  "Honoring The Past," which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     The  Veteran Suicide  Epidemic is  not  a new  problem.                                                                    
     Mental  health, employment,  and  other related  issues                                                                    
     have been  present in the  transition of  veterans into                                                                    
     civilian life for decades.                                                                                                 
     VIPER  honors   our  military  heritage   by  utilizing                                                                    
     historical  pieces to  serve as  training tools  in our                                                                    
     Pictured to the left is  the donated R4D that the VIPER                                                                    
     Aviation  Maintenance  program  uses. It  served  as  a                                                                    
     Marine VIP Transport.                                                                                                      
MR. KAISER  said that  the plane  pictured in  the slide  will be                                                               
restored, then used  to transport veterans from  around the state                                                               
to attend  training.   He then  presented slide  8, "Who  We Have                                                               
Helped," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
     VIPER  has successfully  helped integrate  100 Veterans                                                                    
     into quality careers.                                                                                                      
     VIPER has placed 3 Military Spouses into careers.                                                                          
     VIPER  has partnered  with  over  15 organizations  and                                                                    
     companies  spanning   across  Alaska  and   the  United                                                                    
MR. KAISER  explained that multiple  generations of  veterans are                                                               
involved  with  VIPER including  those  from  World War  II,  the                                                               
Korean War, and  operations in Iraq.  He then  presented slide 9,                                                               
"How  VIPER  Programs  Work," which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     ? Anyone  who partners with  VIPER is required  sign an                                                                    
     agreement with VIPER.                                                                                                      
     ?  The agreement  requires  to the  company  to sign  a                                                                    
     contract  with the  veteran or  military  spouse to  be                                                                    
     employed with the company  which guarantees; hire after                                                                    
     separation, wages and benefits  to be received, and the                                                                    
     training needed for the veteran to be employed.                                                                            
     ?  After  the VIPER  applicant  and  the employer  have                                                                    
     reached an  agreement on the terms  of the arrangement,                                                                    
     VIPER  works  with  the   employer  to  facilitate  the                                                                    
     Skillbridge process.                                                                                                       
MR. KAISER said,  "There are many programs that will  take a vet,                                                               
charge them their  GI bill, give them a  certificate that doesn't                                                               
lead to  a job, say 'Thank  you for your service,'  and pass them                                                               
out  the  door."   He  contrasted  VIPER's program,  which  first                                                               
focuses  on  job  placement  and  then  on  the  training  to  be                                                               
successful in the job.   He presented slide 10, "Programs," which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     The following are our most active programs:                                                                                
     ? VIPER Ironworkers                                                                                                        
     ? Veterans Electrical Entry Program (VEEP)                                                                                 
     ? VIPER Aviation Maintenance Program                                                                                       
     ? SMART Heroes                                                                                                             
     ? VIPER Mechanics Internships                                                                                              
     ? VIPER Lab Tech Internships                                                                                               
MR.  KAISER presented  slide 11,  "Demographics,"  which read  as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     ? Approximately 200,000 veterans  transition out of the                                                                    
     military                   every                   year                                                                    
     ? 88% Veterans who go  to college after transition drop                                                                    
     out.   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/veterans-college-                                                                    
     ? There are approximately  18.8 million Veterans in the                                                                    
     United States. Making up almost 8% of the population.                                                                      
          ? Veterans  make up approximately 1/3  of Alaska's                                                                    
          ? Dunbars  number for individual  relationships is                                                                    
     150, if   you  use  a  more conservative  number  of  5                                                                    
     close personal      friends,   Veterans  can   directly                                                                    
     affect approximately 94  million  Americans.  28.6%  of                                                                    
     America's population.                                                                                                      
          ?   https://www.ncsl.org/blog/2017/11/10/veterans-                                                                    
     bythe-    numbers.aspx                                                                                                     
MR. KAISER  presented slide  12, "Reasons  We Are  The Solution,"                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     ? Mission and Purpose                                                                                                      
          ?  Our  programs  present  transitioning  veterans                                                                    
     with a new     mission: To have  a successful career as                                                                    
          ? Our careers  represent a new purpose:  to be the                                                                    
     best      craftsmen  in  their   industry  and  support                                                                    
     fellow veterans                                                                                                            
     ? We are the answer to:                                                                                                    
          ? "What do I do now?"                                                                                                 
             How do I provide for my family?"                                                                                   
          ? "What is my purpose? Where do I belong?"                                                                            
MR. KAISER expressed  that there's nothing more  frustrating as a                                                               
highly-skilled,  experienced,  and   capable  veteran  than  when                                                               
someone  offers  to help.    He  explained,  "I don't  need  your                                                               
'help.'  I could  use a little support to get  my feet going, and                                                               
then  I'll take  it from  there."   He  said VIPER  aims to  give                                                               
veterans and  their spouses the  opportunity to succeed  on their                                                               
own.  He concluded his  presentation with slide 13, "Conclusion,"                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     Veterans serve our State and  our Nation with honor. It                                                                    
     is  up to  us to  serve  them as  they transition  into                                                                    
     civilian life.                                                                                                             
     One veteran lost to suicide, is one too many.                                                                              
        As a community, a State, and a Nation we must do                                                                        
     better to support veteran reintegration.                                                                                   
     VIPER is here to see to it that every veteran is given                                                                     
     an opportunity to have the American Dream they fought                                                                      
     to defend.                                                                                                                 
MR.  KAISER said  VIPER Transitions  has  no paid  staff and  has                                                               
received  no government  grants  but is  entirely funded  through                                                               
private donations.   He also noted that  the organization doesn't                                                               
charge the  government issue (GI) Bill  due to his belief  that a                                                               
veteran shouldn't have to use it in order to get a job.                                                                         
1:45:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  whether  this  presentation is  a                                                               
preamble to a bill.                                                                                                             
CHAIR TUCK  replied that  it is  not, but  it could  be if,  as a                                                               
result   of  the   presentation,   opportunities  for   veterans'                                                               
assistance could be identified.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked Mr. Kaiser whether  the statistics                                                               
included in the presentation are from Alaska.                                                                                   
MR.  KAISER replied  that the  statistics came  from Alaska.   He                                                               
noted that VIPER has recently  received recognition from the U.S.                                                               
Department of Defense (DoD) for its partnership with AAR.                                                                       
1:46:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   NELSON   expressed   his   support   for   VIPER                                                               
Transitions and  said, "It's  a little  tough for  an individual,                                                               
once they  get out, well-distinguished  in their career,  to then                                                               
be reduced down  to stocking shelves at Fred  Meyer because their                                                               
resume  might translate  really  well to  military  life but  not                                                               
necessarily over onto civilian life."                                                                                           
1:47:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  expressed that  this topic is  very personal                                                               
to her  since her brother,  who was  a veteran, died  by suicide.                                                               
She  wished VIPER  "great success"  and said  that she  hopes for                                                               
future opportunities to support veterans.                                                                                       
1:48:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY stated  her gratitude for the  program.  She                                                               
then asked  how long VIPER  has been a national  organization and                                                               
whether there would be a branch in Juneau.                                                                                      
MR. KAISER responded  that the program for  electricians became a                                                               
national program immediately.   He then described  the process of                                                               
the program,  beginning with someone  choosing a career  path and                                                               
location,  after  which  VIPER  reaches out  to  the  appropriate                                                               
training centers and secures direct  entry into an apprenticeship                                                               
program.   Upon leaving the  military, he explained,  the veteran                                                               
transitions  directing  into  the  training  program  and,  after                                                               
achieving  proficiency,  transfers   to  the  previously-arranged                                                               
apprenticeship.   He said  that training  centers can  be located                                                               
almost anywhere,  and in lieu  of getting training  directly from                                                               
VIPER, a veteran could enter  into an internship with a potential                                                               
employer to train in the skills unique to that employer.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  whether  Mr. Kaiser  has  had  many                                                               
referrals  in  Alaska  and how  he  communicates  with  veterans'                                                               
organizations about the program.                                                                                                
MR. KAISER responded that there  have been several referrals from                                                               
across  Alaska and  most of  the program  participants have  been                                                               
Alaskan.   He  said that  many of  the career  paths targeted  by                                                               
VIPER are in  "hands-on" fields that require the  veteran to move                                                               
to  where  the  work  is.   Mr.  Kaiser  also  described  VIPER's                                                               
involvement  with  several  different veterans'  communities  and                                                               
networking  with career  counselors  and the  U.S. Department  of                                                               
Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked how VIPER networks with businesses.                                                                  
MR.  KAISER replied,  "Word-of-mouth.   I've done  a lot  of door                                                               
knocking and really,  what I've noticed with  the Alaska business                                                               
community, that tends to be the best  way."  He stated that he is                                                               
a  "California  transplant" who  is  not  well known  within  the                                                               
Alaska business community, but VIPER gets referrals.                                                                            
1:55:56 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special Committee  on Military and Veterans'  Affairs meeting was                                                               
adjourned at 1:56 p.m.