ESGR specialist promoting Kentucky’s National Guard Soldiers

By Stacy Floden, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Teresa Lona, program support specialist for Kentucky's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve speaks with a Guardsman about resume building in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 4, 2016. Lona will use her military experience along with ESGR tools to assist Service members with resumes, applications and job searches. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Teresa Lona, program support specialist for Kentucky’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve speaks with a Guardsman about resume building in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 4, 2016. Lona will use her military experience along with ESGR tools to assist Service members with resumes, applications and job searches. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — She loved her Soldier job and now Teresa Lona wants to give back to the military and work with people who are still in the service as the program support specialist, for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). She is one of two fulltime personnel for ESGR in the commonwealth, a Department of Defense operation that is staffed primarily with volunteers.

“The military was my career. My whole family was in the service. Being a Soldier made me feel like I was doing something important for our country,” said Lona. “Now I will continue to assist, but just in a different role. I’m here to be their support!”

Lona will provide her expertise and knowledge by showing the Soldiers what their skill set can do and what full time jobs are available for them. ESGR has the tools to assist with resume building and Lona will guide the Soldiers through the steps to go out and get the job they want.

“Teresa has the people skills and confidence to evaluate the readiness and skill set of others for a career in the civilian workforce. Having been through the employment process herself, she understands and can help service members with the frustration and trails of translating military skills to civilian skills,” said Tim Stinnett, ESGR volunteer support technician. “Her openness and creativity allows her to assist with writing the best resume to fit the needs of the service member and helps them find the right career opportunity.”

Lona, who graduated from Midway College with a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration, has worked as a Management Analyst in the J4 Surface Maintenance Office, where she primarily handled manning issues, tracking and managing personnel status within the maintenance community, across the state. She served in the National Guard for eight years and active duty Air Force as well.

“I’ve been a Soldier, an Airman and also the wife of a Soldier at home so I recognize the challenges of getting a full time job. When you are coming back from deployment, it is a different way of life and you have to learn how to reintegrate. You are just trying to fit everything back together. It’s a little bit of a culture shock.”

Another important aspect of Lona’s job is tracking the Civilian Employment Information (CEI) website. “We don’t have a good grasp on our National Guard employment status. So many people don’t understand how to fill out the information in the CEI, so they may identify themselves as having a full time job when they really don’t. Trying to identify the true number of Soldiers looking for a job and getting the message out is crucial to job placement.”

Submitting the CEI is an annual requirement for Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. The information provided influences the chances of being called to active duty, it is used to determine whether the unit or unit members should be mobilized, as well as to ensure the Soldier isn’t on active duty beyond the time the Department of Defense needs you to serve. But in Lona’s case, it provides NGB Employer Support with information that can make helping you through employment issues much easier.

So, if you are a Guardsman, or know someone who is, who needs a job or a better job, contact Teresa Lona. Her office phone number is (502) 607-1594 and her email address is teresa.l.lona.ctr@mail.mil.

About sraymond