July 28 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney on Sunday announced a plan to institute mandatory national service if elected in 2020.
The former Maryland congressman outlined a program that would require all Americans to sign up for national service for one year, with the option to serve for two upon graduating high school or turning 18, in exchange for payment and up two or three years of free tuition at a public college or university depending time served.
Under Delaney's plan, Americans would be given the choice of serving in the U.S. military, an expanded Community Service program, a new National Infrastructure Apprenticeship program or a newly created group called Climate Corps.
The plan states that U.S. military service would adhere to existing requirements and duration guidelines, while the Community Service program would function similarly to existing programs such as AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, in which participants would take part in school outreach and public health awareness programs.
Delaney also proposed that the government will enter into partnerships with private companies and trade unions to offer infrastructure apprenticeships. All federal contractors would be required to design and implement an apprentice program and those who complete the apprenticeships would receive a professional certificate as proof of mastery of a skill set.
The Climate Corps would be established for participants to assist in clean-energy projects such as solar installation, community gardens or increasing awareness about sustainable practices.
Upon completing the service, participants would be granted two years of free tuition at a public college or university if they served for one year, or three years of free tuition for two years of service.