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NEWS | May 6, 2008

Karada Vocational Training Center provides new start

By Pfc. Michael Schuch , 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

FOB HAMMER, Iraq (May 7, 2008) – Iraqi citizens near Jisr Diyala, Iraq, now have new opportunities in providing for their families, thanks to the Karada Vocational Training Center.

The training center offers local Iraqis the chance to learn entry-level skills required to obtain jobs through a wide variety of courses, such as masonry, welding, sewing and electrical installation.

“Now the Iraqi graduates have these basic skill sets,” said Mickey Toreano, U.S. Agency for International Development representative. “As businesses return to the Jisr Diyala area, they will be able to fill the jobs.”

Toreano called it a good start for the Iraqi people, as it will give them other options to feed their families instead of planting improvised explosive devices for money.

The center’s most recent course cycle produced 66 graduates out of a total of 81 students. The previous cycle produced only six graduates, before Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team began promoting the center. They did so by talking with governmental counterparts and encouraged them to take slots at the academy.

The 3rd BCT is helping with funding and building a second vocational training center in Salman Pak, expected to start classes by September, Toreano said.

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division are taking over assistance efforts for building the Salman Pak center as they relieve the 3rd BCT and assume operations in the Mada’in Qada.

The 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., has been deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

The 2nd BCT, 1st Armd. Div., from Baumholder, Germany, deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April.