L-1, VA in pact to create jobs for disabled vets

The Veterans Affairs Department plans to forge a memorandum of understanding with L-1 Identity Solutions Co. under which the identity management vendor will create high-quality jobs for disabled veterans at the company's hundreds of enrollment centers nationwide.

The planned agreement puts the vendor on a path to creating as many as 1,000 or more steady jobs paying $20,000 to $60,000 annually with benefits for veterans, many of whom are living with wounds they received in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the company said.

The department's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service plans to complete the MOU with Integrated Biometric Technology LLC (IBT), a business unit of L-1 Identity Solutions. IBT operates more than 500 centers nationwide and in Canada where "trusted agents" process applications for credentials such as the Transportation Security Administration's Hazardous Materials Endorsement program.

That TSA program gathers fingerprints from drivers of hazardous materials trucks and handles FBI background checks for those seeking hazmat endorsements on their commercial driver's license.

IBT's credentialing operations could expand dramatically if the company receives a contract to provide enrollment and credentialing services under the Transportation Worker Identity Credential procurement that is pending now. Vendor executives said TSA has signaled that it is likely to award the TWIC contract by the end of this month.

IBT board chairman Charlie Carroll said his company soon would begin a gradual transition to converting its staff at the fingerprint enrollment centers to a 100 percent proportion of disabled veterans referred by the VA. The centers' existing staff will be shifted to other jobs via attrition, Carroll said.

Carroll said his company would implement the MOU irrespective of TSA's decision on the TWIC contract. The impetus for IBT's outreach to the disabled vets came from the company's own employees, many of whom are retired law enforcement officers with military experience, Carroll said.

"American war veterans are a diverse, hard-working and disciplined group of individuals that embody the spirit of our company's mission to secure our nation and protect our citizens from crime, terrorism and fraud," Carroll said. He cited the debt of gratitude owed to the vets for their service and protection of the country. "We are honored to repay this debt by creating a new set of high-profile and important career opportunities for them within our enrollment service centers across the U.S," Carroll said.

The new employment program is set for launch next month. Information about specific job opportunities is available at www.vetsuccess.gov.

Wilson P. Dizard III is a staff writer for Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Government Computer News.

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