With the high rate of unemployment among service members across the nation, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is committed to the implementation of the U.S. Department of Defense's latest program aimed at improving the chances for Guards and Reservists to get employed.
The Employment Initiative Program or EIP is the latest “relevant initiative” launched in 2011 and connects employers with service members and their spouses to facilitate employment opportunities.
David J. Sablan, state chair of the Guam-CNMI Committee of ESGR, introduced the EIP to local employers during the Employer Initiative Symposium held Wednesday at the Azucena Room of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.
Sablan said in his presentation that DOD, through ESGR, is “very keen” in implementing the program to benefit these men and women in uniform who are in need of jobs when they come back from deployment.
“A lot of these military personnel deploy and come back and start showing up in unemployment lines like the social services or public health because they don't have a job and can't take care of their families and this is really a travesty,” Sablan told some 25 employer representatives at the event.
Sablan said that Guam alone has an unemployment rate of 12 percent, higher than the national average of 8.9 percent.
“As you can see, it's a high percentage and we have to do something about it,” he added.
Sablan noted, though, that the EIP program does not mean that ESGR is a job placement agency. He said the program involves an action plan intended to conduct employer symposia to discuss “Hiring Our Heroes,” abolish community association with job placement agencies, reach out to military commands to help their unemployed or under-employed service members, and co-sponsor job fairs and employment assistance workshops.
He said that federal and local agencies as well as private offices and organizations have partnered with DOD to provide assistance through EIP to service members who are either unemployed or underemployed.
EIP has two approaches. The “high-tech” is the Hero2Hired or H2H program, a valuable and free resource providing opportunities for job seekers and employers through a job search site and online community for both employers and service members. It can be accessed at www.H2H.jobs.com.
The “high touch” approach, on the other hand, involves state-specific job events hosted by ESGR such as job fairs.
Sablan emphasized that components of the Guard and Reserve are valuable to employers because of their leadership, professionalism, responsibility, mission-critical skills, physical conditioning, “can do” attitude, calm under pressure, first class image, on-time all the time approach, and global perspective.
In an interview after his presentation, Sablan expressed optimism that Guam and the CNMI will have a “strong appreciation” of the military members and that the EIP will have a good response among employers on island.
“All we kindly ask is for employers to put them in front of the line when hiring, have them go through the normal testing and interview process. If they qualify, please hire them. That's our request,” he added.
For more information, call (671) 735-0456.