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Minnesota National Guard
Wal-Mart Says Its Hiring 100,000 Returning Veterans In Next 5 Years

Minnesota National Guard MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Starting on Veteran’s Day, an American retailer says it will hire more than 100,000 returning veterans in the next five years

Wal-Mart will offer jobs to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first year off from active duty

The opportunities will be in stores, distribution centers and the home office

The numbers are against veterans finding employment Capt Jeff Pratt was one of those returning veterans struggling to find a job

“Finding full-time quality employment was a big thing for me,” Pratt said

According to US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, as of December 2012, the unemployment rate for civilians is 75 percent, while people who have served in the last decade have 108 percent unemployment

That’s down from more than 12 percent unemployment for returning service members as of a year ago

Pratt says Wal-Mart and other companies will benefit from what returning service members have to offer

“Leadership value; there is honor, integrity in everything we do in the military,” he said

Pratt was one of the lucky ones

“Companies like UnitedHealth Group and others that are out there have engaged in a process that will gainfully employ returning service members,” he said

His military job in logistics transferred nicely to UnitedHealth Pratt said it was easy because of a military skills translator the company uses on its website

That military skills translator is used by many other companies The Minnesota National Guard worked numerous Minnesota-based companies such as Target, Best Buy and US Bank to help soldiers in get jobs

And it has paid off

When the Red Bulls returned last May, 20 percent faced unemployment Today? Only 35 of those 2,700 soldiers do not have jobs

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Red Bulls train for readiness and resiliency

Posted: 2015-11-30  03:05 PM
CRTC CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division conducted maneuver training on Camp Ripley Nov. 21-22, 2015.

"It was a good weekend for our annual weapons qualification, we got a lot of tasks taken care of," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Lanoux with D Co. 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.

The training is in preparation for the upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., next summer. Fort Irwin is one of several premier training sites for the joint and combined arms training opportunities focused on tough and realistic scenarios units may face in a full spectrum operation.

Woman's Veterans Initiative Shows Major Muscle with Habitat for Humanity Build

Posted: 2015-11-25  09:37 AM
WVI H4H ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.

"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."

The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.

Empowering Girls and Influencing the Next Generation

Posted: 2015-11-17  10:51 AM
Girls Rising ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Air National Guard and the Soroptimist International of the Twin Cities partnered together to present the documentary film 'Girl Rising' at the 133rd Airlift Wing on Saturday, Nov 7 2015.

The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.

"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.

Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing has new leader

Posted: 2015-11-16  07:47 AM
148FW CoC Clint Austin DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.

The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.

During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.

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