Members of the National Guard and Reserve have spent a lot of time on active duty recently. While their sacrifices are appreciated by all, their military responsibilities can cause stress for those that they leave behind: families, friends, and even employers. That makes it more timely than ever to recognize the value of the Guard and Reserve and the business community's role in supporting their ranks.
That's the purpose of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a group established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve members and their civilian employers and to resolve conflicts arising from an employee's military duties. The group is led by a national committee but the key to the organization is the nearly 4,500 ESGR volunteer executives who work to provide a variety of employer support programs on a local level.
Michael Conklin of Intero Real Estate Services is playing that role in Hacienda and the Tri-Valley. Conklin, the father of two sons now serving as Army Rangers, is meeting with local businesses to help them understand the importance of supporting the men and women of the Guard and Reserve.
"My role is to let them know there's a lot of support for them and the employee," he explains. "For example, we offer several programs to employers, at no charge, as well as things like family support for Reservists."
Employer services include "Briefings with the Boss," an informal forum in which local employers, unit commanders, ESGR members, and community leaders meet to discuss issues that may arise from employee military participation; "Bosslifts," a program which transports employers to military training sites such as Fort Sam Houston so that they can see first-hand the depth of training that Reservists receive; an Ombudsman Services Program which provides information and mediation of issues related to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA); and an Awards Program which recognizes employers which actively support employee participation in the National Guard and Reserve.
"We are also trying to educate the human resources people as to the value of hiring military," Conklin says. "Many of them don't realize the extent of the training, both technical and leadership, that members of our forces receive."
To find out more about ESGR, contact Conklin at (925) 648-5319 or visit their web site at www.esgr.org .
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