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Minnesota National Guard
Effort helps returning National Guard Soliders find jobs

Minnesota National Guard An intensive effort to help Minnesota's military veterans find civilian jobs is paying off

Most of the 2,700 National Guard soldiers from Minnesota 34th Red Bull Infantry Division who returned from the Middle East last spring have found work, Guard officials say

The National Guard wanted to help returning soldiers get back to work as quickly as possible and avoid problems that can stem from joblessness -- among them drug and alcohol abuse and family conflict To that end, guard officials launched an all out assault on unemployment

So far, the strategy is working Of the more than 500 service members who returned from the Middle East without civilian jobs, guard officials say only 35 are still looking for work

"It's been a great accomplishment for the brigade," said Capt Ron Jarvi Jr, who helps soldiers connect with unemployment resources

For National Guard and reserve troops who split their time between military deployments and civilian lives, looking for a job can be tough after their tours of duty are over They have to drop everything when called to serve, often with very little notice That can scare off employers

A 2011 Guard survey of 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers found that 28 percent did not expect to have civilian jobs when they returned home from Kuwait

Unemployment was a problem for returning service members in the Minnesota National Guard, Jarvi said

"Anywhere from the young soldier who just graduated from high school and came back from basic training and deployed right away," he said, "to the more seasoned soldier that has had civilian work experience, that has had multiple jobs, that has had a great educational background and perhaps they were just looking for a new career because they didn't want to go back to that career that they had before"

To help soldiers prepare for the workforce, guard officials did not wait for the troops to come home before helping them Instead, they took the help to them, overseas Last spring, a team of military officials accompanied government, education and business leaders to Kuwait

Representatives of Target, US Bank, Best Buy, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce spent a week on a military base and led troops through a rigorous set of exercises designed to help prepare them to job hunt The exercises included sessions on resume writing and career planning and mock interviews

Employers found the soldiers focused and energetic, said Bruce Kiefner a recruiter for Best Buy He said hiring veterans is a priority for the company

"They have that get-the-job-done attitude, and that is what has really attracted us to them," Kiefner said "They are serious yet they have a personal side and that is where we like to bridge that gap We want the serious leader but we also want someone that can take a breath and have fun with the team -- and those are typically our best leaders"

With a little coaching on corporate culture, most veterans make excellent civilian employees, he said

National Guard officials decided to send the team to Kuwait to allow soldiers to think about civilian jobs before they became overwhelmed with thoughts of coming home

"The reality is that you're trying to reintegrate with your spouse or with your kids or getting your paperwork filed with the state and reinstating your license and doing all of the different things that you have to do to reintegrate," Jarvi said

Once soldiers were stateside, the initiative to help them intensified

Employment specialists connected returning guard members with job and education resources through a coordinated network of private companies and the state Department of Employment and Economic Development

The program aims to connect veterans with regional workforce centers, make sure their resumes are updated and posted online and determine what they're missing in terms of experience or education so soldiers can concentrate on filling those gaps It also encourages them to be persistent in their job search

Officials say the three-step process works, even for hard-to-place veterans

Captain Jeff Pratt helped unemployed soldiers find work through his former job with the Minnesota National Guard, which entailed helping veterans transition from military to civilian life He's also a success story himself

Besides two deployments to Iraq in the last decade, Pratt, of Owatonna, Minn, also had decades of civilian work experience as a 401k administrator and financial services salesperson

But after nearly 20 years in the National Guard, even he had difficulties landing the kind of civilian job he wanted

Using the guard's new program, Pratt, 46, finally found the position he was hoping for

He began working this week as a risk-management analyst for United Health Group

"I feel great about it I am very excited," he said "In the military I'm a logistician, out in the world I was a 401k administrator and salesperson, and the two really drove me into how do you solve problems And the idea behind solving problems is just risk management So it really came full circle for me"

Pratt said the guard program made his job hunt more productive

"When you don't have a job or you're looking for a job, there are hundreds of websites you can go on," he said "But if you don't know what you're looking for, you're spraying and praying and it never works out very well This program is designed to channel you into one spot and work that one spot and by doing that your propensity for finding what you're looking for dramatically goes up, and it just works"

Despite successful efforts to help returning soldiers get jobs, a higher percentage of veterans remain unemployed in the state compared to civilians

The most recent federal American Community Survey estimates the unemployment rate for Minnesota's military veterans at just over 8 percent That's nearly a percentage point higher than the unemployment rate for the state's population as a whole

By Jessica Mador
Minnesota Public Radio News
Article source
http://www.postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1519695



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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.



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."



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