| National Guard soldiers return to support network aimed at helping them find jobs
Rosemount, Minn — More than 500 National Guard soldiers woke up at home yesterday morning for the first time in more than a year In the next few months, they’ll reclaim their civilian lives
But for many, finding a job will be an important challenge National Guard officials say about 20 percent of the nearly 3,000 Red Bulls brigade soldiers returning home from Kuwait will not have a job waiting for them
Maj Gen David Elicerio, the commander of Minnesota’s 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division, knows that challenge Three years ago, he struggled to find civilian work after serving in Iraq
“I know well the frustrations that our soldiers have, coming back to Minnesota and trying to match the skill sets of a commander in Iraq in charge of 15,000 soldiers over nine provinces in Iraq to the job market in Minnesota,” Elicerio said
To speed the transition back to working life for returning soldiers, National Guard officials and Minnesota businesses are helping them maneuver through the employment process
In the coming months, the Guard will work with private employers and officials from the Department of Employment and Economic Development to host job fairs around the state and at regional workforce centers throughout the summer
Elicerio recently told a group of business representatives what happened when he returned from his last tour of duty overseas In 2009, he contacted 3M officials about job opportunities and received a less-than-enthusiastic reception
“Hey, I’m a chemical engineer with over 25 years’ experience in the health care industry and I know you’re big in health care products,” he recalled telling them “They said, ‘You’re right We’ve got an entry-level engineering job for you, part time, in our facility in Kansas City’ I said ‘Eh, that’s not going to work so well, either’”
Elicerio told the story at one of several events the Guard is hosting to connect businesses with unemployed soldiers returning from Kuwait this year
The Guard is teaching employers some Army basics — like the difference between a division and a squad and what job descriptions and ranks mean Elicerio said soldiers often overlook the importance of describing their military experience to civilians
The unemployment rate for Minnesota veterans is more than three times the state’s civilian unemployment rate of 57 percent Last month, representatives from several major companies, including Target, Best Buy and US Bank, helped soldiers spruce up their resumes and prepare for job interviews while they were still in Kuwait
Now other companies are targeting recruitment efforts on returning soldiers
Military experience is often lost in translation, said Ronda Wescott, president of public sector services for Travelers Insurance The St Paul-based company employs 1,200 veterans across the country
“In corporate America, we deal with job descriptions,” she said after speaking to attendees at the National Guard employers event “So if you had a job description in the military … it’s probably full of Army lingo Just take that job description and translate it into what it means generally, to a lay person, and that would work well”
Wescott said Travelers’ recruiters are learning to translate military experience into possible jobs at the company But she said soldiers need to do a better job being open with potential employers about what they did during their time in the military
“There’s been a hesitancy to talk too much about things that have happened in Iraq, for example, or wherever it is,” Wescott said “But I think there’s a way to do that without giving anything away”
The push to help returning soldiers has also made its way to the state Capitol Last month, Gov Mark Dayton signed a bill that allows employers to set a hiring preference for veterans
State Sen Ted Daley, R-Eagan, who sponsored his chamber’s bill, said employers have an opportunity to help veterans find jobs
“The great thing is, it’s not a mandate,” Daley said “It doesn’t force any company to do this It’s permissive language which allows them to do it and not to be worried or troubled by any lawsuits that they could face for preferring to hire veterans”
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.