Well before we were a nation, colonists worked together to protect their communities from natural disasters, bandits, and other threats.
The legacy of those first “citizen soldiers” continues today in the National Guard and military Reserve forces. It’s also a strategy that remains critical to our national defense.
Roughly half of America’s military personnel serve part-time. They are our neighbors, friends, and work colleagues. They are a force in readiness. Without them, the U.S. could not carry out its global military commitments.
Working to ensure a strong partnership between citizen soldiers and those who employ them is the mission of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Known as ESGR, it was formed in 1972 and is a volunteer organization within the Department of Defense.
ESGR seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all employers support and value the military service of their employees. The reason is simple: most citizen soldiers balance two careers — one civilian, one military. Knowing an employer appreciates their service and has their back during deployments provides peace of mind for service members and their families.
Employers also benefit from this partnership. Members of the Guard and Reserve bring discipline and dedication to their civilian jobs, plus the knowledge, experience and sense of teamwork provided by military training.
Not surprisingly, that military experience is prevalent in municipal government.
According to a study by GoBankingRates, the top three professions for military veterans are police officer, paramedic and firefighter. About 8 percent of the nation’s municipal workforce are veterans; about one in five police officers have military experience.
“Municipal workers deliver a variety of critical services to our communities,” said Dan Irving, the Arizona chairman for ESGR. “Many of those workers are either veterans or in the Guard and Reserve. Those employers that employ Guard and Reserve and their families play a vital role in their employee’s unit readiness and our national defense. Our organization’s mission supports and develops that vital relationship between employers and their citizen soldiers and families.”
ESGR works to keep that partnership strong by:
- Recognizing outstanding employer support through a multi-tiered awards program
- Increasing awareness of laws that govern the relationship between employer and citizen soldier
- Mediating conﬂicts between employers and service members
- Acting as an employer’s principal advocate within the Department of Defense
There are many ways ESGR shares information about these programs and services:
- Volunteers brief service members about their rights and responsibilities under the law, most notably the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Service members are encouraged to recognize their civilian supervisors and employers through Patriot Award nominations
- Civilian human resource managers and front-line supervisors receive free USERRA training
- Employers are briefed on ESGR’s mission and USERRA laws during free “Breakfast with the Boss” events
- Employers also participate in unique events such as “Boss Lifts,” which allow civilian employers to experience military training operations first-hand such as air refueling missions.
For more information on ESGR and its programs and services, visit www.esgr.mil or call 602-267-2404.
You can also visit us on social media: Visit Facebook or LinkedIn and search “Arizona ESGR”