If you’ve been to a local business, it’s likely you walked by a framed letter verifying the establishment’s commitment to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). But what exactly is ESGR and why is it important for employers to support this initiative?

ESGR, a Department of Defense office, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.

Simply put, it’s vital that we support our citizen warriors with the promise of meaningful civilian support for themselves and their family, as they continue to defend and protect us. ESGR has continued to adapt to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families and America’s employers by joining forces with a network of other national, state and local government and professional trade organizations.

Photo from DirectEmployers Annual Meeting and Conference of Bill with ESGR.

DirectEmployers Executive Director Bill Warren holding up the ESGR Statement of Support.

Our Executive Director Bill Warren signed a reaffirmation Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve at the DirectEmployers 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference (see full press release: http://www.directemployers.org/2015/05/13/directemployers-reaffirms-support-esgr/). Our Members also had the opportunity to sign a Statement of Support, meet ESGR representatives and discuss opportunities for involvement and support of the ESGR’s mission – encouraging the employment of Guardsmen and Reservists, who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

Beyond the reaffirmation and networking at our conference, National Labor Exchange (NLx) Operations Manager Christy Merriman was recently nominated and participated in a Boss Lift. A Boss Lift is designed to bring influential employers and community leaders to military bases to see firsthand the vital work of the members of the Guard and Reserve. Participants gain insight into the daily life and responsibilities of our National Guard and Reserve members by meeting and interacting with them. Christy’s well-deserved nomination was the result of her work with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to build their job bank through the NLx’s free indexing services to help provide access to more employment opportunities.

The actual Boss Lift event began June 9, and Merriman, along with 37 employers from across Illinois, boarded a C-130 plane and headed to Florida, and toured the world’s largest climatic lab, where they test military equipment in harsh temperatures ranging from -65 to +165. Participants were told many stories of accomplishment, such as after the earthquake in Haiti, the Air Forces Special Operations (AFSOC) personnel set up air traffic control and started landing cargo supply planes in 20 minutes of their arrival. Another interesting stated fact is that our military is made up of 1/3 guard and reservist, 1/3 active full time duty, and the last 1/3 private contractors.

Boss Lift

Boss Lift participants interacting with snakes handled by an Army Ranger. Christy can be spotted in the background on the right!

Merriman remarked, “It was all so interesting…it’s very difficult to choose the highlight. I would have to say, every Guard and Reservist from the lowest to the highest rank represented themselves and our military in a highly professional manner. They were eager to share their experiences and answer all of our questions. The bases we visited were home to AFSOC – Air Forces Special Operations Command (which took Seal Team 6 where they needed to go) and the Army Rangers train there. We saw the best of the best and it was impressive how they train with such dedication. Any employer would be well served to hire these individuals.”

Check out this article from the ESGR to read more details and view photos from the Boss Lift: http://de.nlx.org/pdfs/2015+Bosslift+Article+(2).pdf

Statements of Support and Boss Lifts through the ESGR are just two of the many ways employers can improve their outreach and hiring efforts, while more importantly supporting these incredibly dedicated men and women and their families. To learn more about how your company can become more involved with the ESGR, please contact your Membership Development Rep at info@directemployers.org or call us at 1-866-268-6206.


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