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Minnesota National Guard
Editorial: Commit, recommit to jobs for veterans

Yellow-ribbon sentiments aside, returning soldiers are struggling -- along with their civilian counterparts -- in a sluggish job market

Recent veterans may face even more daunting odds than others looking for work, said a Pioneer Press report this week: "Publicly, employers say they want to hire veterans and support returning troops Yet when (job) recruiters look at military resumes chock full of acronyms and military terminology, they're dumbfounded"

Apparently, war-zone lingo, ranks and military titles don't resonate in the corporate world

For post-9/11-era veterans in Minnesota, the annual unemployment rate was 117 percent in 2011, about double the state average, according to the latest data available, our report said More recent national data show these veterans faced an unemployment rate of 10 percent in October, well above the national rate of 79 percent for that same month

"One of the biggest difficulties veterans face when it comes to employment is clearly articulating and translating their military skill sets into civilian skills sets," Capt John Hobot, a Minnesota National Guard spokesman, told us

In response, he said, Maj Gen Richard Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, wanted to create an "unemployment resource apparatus" for returning service members The result is the Interagency Employment Work Group, with more than 20 state, federal and local entities working to create "successful pathways" for returning veterans trying to find employment

The group was instrumental, Hobot said, in assisting unemployed soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division The 2,700 Red Bulls who returned home in the spring represented the largest single deployment of Minnesota National Guard troops since World War II

Before the troops' return, Nash led an initiative to send an Employment Resource Team to Kuwait to help 526 job-seeking service members with resume writing, career planning and other employment resources Human resource managers from Best Buy, Target and US Bank, as well as representatives from state agencies, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, were among those making a weeklong trip They provided a fine example of business advocacy on our soldiers' behalf

And the results are encouraging The 1st Brigade Combat Team's unemployment rate is down from 19 percent in May 2011 to below 5 percent last month, according to Hobot

It's still a challenging job market, however, St Paul Chamber President Matt Kramer told us "Employers are adding people, but very selectively"

With many resumes to choose from, they can be very choosy in finding the exact match for their qualifications, he said, noting efforts to address veterans' needs that include encouraging employers to write job descriptions that give comparable credit, for example, to "leadership experience in the military" and "civilian management experience"

Let's remember that President Barack Obama chose Minnesota last June to support hiring veterans, telling a crowd at Honeywell headquarters in Golden Valley that with the war in Iraq over and the conflict in Afghanistan winding down, more than 1 million "outstanding heroes" are returning to civilian life, and the nation must do more to help them find jobs

"I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home," said the president

Businesses today face tough times, made even tougher by the uncertainty corporate leaders say is so challenging to their operations

Even when the times include a looming fiscal "cliff" and likely tax increases closer to home, our commitment to ease our soldiers' return to civilian life is one we must keep It's a commitment that's always important, but perhaps never more so than in uncertain times

Article source
http://www.twincities.com/opinion/ci_21997060/editorial-commit-recommit-jobs-veterans



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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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