Employment assistance available for Guard families

Story by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

7-27-2012 UAW Job Fair

Kentucky Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) assists with job fairs throughout the Commonwealth, getting the word out to those looking for employment. This job fair at the United Auto Workers Hall in Louisville, Ky., was sponsored by U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth. (Photo by Charmaine Miller)

FRANKFORT, Ky.— Anyone who has ever been job hunting knows that there are numerous obstacles to overcome when trying to secure that perfect position.  Finding a company that is accepting applications, meeting the qualification and education expectations, having a well-rounded resume, preparing for an interview, and inquiring about career advancements in the field.

For Kentucky National Guardsmen, there can also be the added dilemma of seeking out an employer who understands the military commitment required of them.  In all these cases, the Kentucky National Guard Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is there to assist service members and their families.

“ESGR is an agency that can make the Soldier’s return easier in terms of returning to employment,” said Harry T. Wiley, State Public Affairs Officer for Kentucky’s ESGR program.  “We work with employers and with military reservists in Kentucky to find better jobs for service members who are underemployed and who need employment.”

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that works to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers.  Programs are important because they help to maintain and provide stability for all.

ESGR job fair 20120724-030

Job fair, Hire Our Heroes, sponsored by the KY Office of Employment and Training, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, KY Dept. of Labor Vets and KY Chamber of Commerce. The event held in Florence, Ky., July 24, saw over 150 job-seekers connect with local employers. (Photo courtesy of National College)

“Our goal with the Employment Initiative Program (EIP),” said retired Kentucky Army National Guard Col. Phil Miller, Program Support Specialist for Kentucky ESGR, “is to help service members and their spouses to stabilize, through gainful employment, the guard and reserve as a community-based defense force in each state.”

ESGR is improving by hosting functions such as Job fairs and Employment Assistance Workshops (EAW) where attendees can work on resume writing, interview skills, job searches, networking, and effective communication techniques.

“We’ve had a number of people hired on the spot at these job fairs,” said Miller.  “That’s the biggest thing is to match the expectations of the service members with the expectations of the employers.”

Currently there are between 50 and 60 companies working with ESGR in job fairs to connect Soldiers and Airmen with employment opportunities.  After the job fairs in Lexington and Louisville, Miller said that they were tracking an 80% success rate at the 90-day mark of having military personnel employed.

Employers can be recognized by the employee or employee family member for their support of military employees.  Awards include Patriotic Award, Above and Beyond, Pro-Patria, and the Freedom Award.

ESGR Ombudsman service program works with employers and service members as a liaison to provide information about employee rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) laws in instances where service related issues arise.

“We can serve as an independent third party who can help both the Soldier and the employer know more about their respective responsibilities,” said Wiley.  “ESGR helps negotiate settlements between parties which helps avoid conflict.”

For more information about resume and interview tips, go to: www.h2h.jobs or www.e3.ky.gov.

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