(1) There is created in the department the veterans service officer program. The purpose of the veterans service officer program is to provide funding to underserved eligible counties to establish and maintain a veterans service officer within the county. "Eligible counties," for the purposes of this section, means counties with a population of one hundred thousand or less.
(2) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated in the veterans service officer fund under RCW 43.60A.235
for the specific purposes provided in this section, the department must:
(a) Establish a process to educate local governments, veterans, and those still serving in the national guard or armed forces reserve of the veterans service officer program;
(b) Develop partnerships with local governments to assist in establishing and maintaining local veterans service officers in eligible counties who elect to have a veterans service officer; and
(c) Provide funding to support eligible counties in establishing and maintaining local accredited veterans service officers. Funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Funding may only be
provided to support the equivalent of one full-time veterans service
officer per eligible county.
(3) The application process for the veterans service officer program must be prescribed as to manner and form by the department.