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Minnesota National Guard
Vet hiring bill flies through Senate

By Mark Fischenich The Free Press

MANKATO — Support for military veterans proved once again this week to be one of the few topics that can bring Republican and Democratic lawmakers together

State Sen Al DeKruif’s bill promoting hiring of veterans passed the Minnesota Senate 65-0 Thursday, and the House is expected to agree to the bill before the end of the legislative session

The four-part bill gives veterans an additional leg up in applying for government jobs, guarantees that vets can get their state jobs back when returning from a deployment, requires the state to actively recruit veterans to apply for job openings, and gives Minnesotans serving in National Guard units in other states the same employment protections as Minnesota National Guard members in holding onto their civilian jobs

DeKruif couldn’t be reached for comment following passage of the bill, but in an earlier interview the Elysian Republican said the legislation is good for Minnesota’s economy as well as helping those who serve their country

“These veterans are coming back with a skill set and a great work ethic,” DeKruif said “These are people we want to keep in Minnesota”

Jobless rates for veterans have ranged widely in varying reports, but Minnesota vets who served since the 9/11 terrorist attacks are unemployed at rates well above the statewide average One figure widely reported last year said that category of returning veterans faced a 23 percent jobless rate in Minnesota, which would have been the third highest in the nation Other reports have put it at 12 percent — still more than double the state’s overall unemployment rate

DeKruif’s bill boosts the bonus points veterans receive in taking civil service tests for state jobs Provided the veteran does well enough on the test to show they have the necessary skills for the job, the veterans preference provision would give the veteran 10 bonus points — double the current bonus

For disabled veterans, the bonus rises from 10 points to 15

A second provision makes clear that the state isn’t immune from civil penalties if it fails to hold a job for an employee who is deployed by the military Private sector employers can be sued for damages if they fail to rehire veterans upon their return from service, but the state  has immunity from those sorts of lawsuits under the 11th amendment DeKruif’s bill waives that immunity if a veteran sues because his or her state job was eliminated during a deployment

Another section of the bill deals with a hole in existing law requiring private sector employers to reinstate workers who were activated by the National Guard to deal with a natural disaster or other emergency in Minnesota The problem is that some Minnesotans are members of Guard units in other states, and their jobs aren’t protected if their unit is called up to deal with a disaster outside of Minnesota

DeKruif gave the example of flooding along the Red River Minnesotans in the Minnesota National Guard stacking sandbags on the east side of the river would know that their civilian jobs will be waiting when the disaster has passed Minnesotans serving with the North Dakota National Guard on the west side of the river currently don’t have the same protection

The bill that unanimously passed the Senate doesn’t have a companion in the House But Rep Glenn Gruenhagen — whose district includes Le Sueur County and part of Sibley County — has a constituent who served in the North Dakota National Guard, and the Glencoe Republican has a bill dealing only with the final provision in DeKruif’s bill

The plan is to get the Gruenhagen bill, which passed the House 130-0, and the DeKruif bill into a conference committee Gruenhagen has said he would gladly accept the additional provisions of DeKruif’s bill and send the compromise bill back to the House and Senate for final passage

March 30, 2012
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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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