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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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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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