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New Obama Administration Programs Help Military Veterans Find Jobs

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama
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The Obama administration says it is launching several programs to help military veterans find work as the U.S. president tries to show he is serious about creating jobs during a campaign-style tour of Western states.

The White House said Tuesday it wants community health centers to hire 8,000 military medics over the next three years and will ask the centers to start reporting on the number of veterans that they employ. It says federal agencies also will try to connect veterans to health clinics' job openings.

In another new program, the Obama administration says it will expand opportunities for military medics to become physician assistants by providing more grants to universities that help to train veterans for such careers.

More veterans are likely to look for work as tens of thousands of troops return from Iraq before an end-of-year deadline for their withdrawal. But, they will enter a weak labor market in which the unemployment rate has remained at or above nine percent for most of this year.

Obama has announced several executive actions in recent days to boost the economy and bypass congressional Republicans who blocked his proposed job creation bill earlier this month. Republicans said the bill's $447 billion-price tag contained too much wasteful spending.

President Obama is due to attend several events in California and Colorado Tuesday. He planned to make a recorded appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, a popular nationally-televised talk show based in Los Angeles. Obama also was due to attend a campaign fundraiser in San Francisco followed by two more in Denver, Colorado.

Late Monday, President Obama mingled with Hollywood stars at two Los Angeles fundraisers, one at the home of film producer James Lassiter, and the second at the home of actress Melanie Griffith and her husband,  actor Antonio Banderas.

At the Lassiter residence, Obama met several dozen supporters who paid $35,800 each for a dinner with the president. He said his campaign for next year's presidential election will "not be as sexy as the first one" and will require him and his supporters to "grind it out".  Earlier Monday, Obama also met with about 240 supporters at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During his stop in Las Vegas, Obama announced a new program to help homeowners lower their mortgage payments to avoid foreclosure. The program will be implemented by federal regulators and does not require congressional approval. It is aimed at enabling struggling homeowners to stay in their homes and to spend more money as consumers to help revive the economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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