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WATCH: SE Iowa Employers Meet with Guard Members at Oskaloosa Readiness Center

By Ellis Codjoe, July 14, 2017

Two dozen employers and even more members of the Iowa National Guard filled the Guard Readiness Center in Oskaloosa Thursday.

Rich Kennedy, a training facilitator with Iowa Works, says the day started with a job fair aimed at helping soldiers find work at home.

We had 25 employers come in and we set them up at their own desk,” Kennedy told Ottumwa Radio News. “We had job seekers come in and they had to give their 60 second elevator pitch then had two minutes of conversation before they had to get up and rotate to the next employer. Really good, it’s a different template. It’s not just job seeker go around and stop at the ones they identify and want to see, they get to go through and see everybody. Employers are happy with it, job seekers are happy with it.”

Kennedy says the day included training sessions for both employers and soldiers.

The job seekers, we had to get them coached up, get their resumes printed out while they were here,” Kennedy said. “The National Guard was great about helping with that. Then we just did a quick fundamental workshop on a quick pitch. How to sell yourself to an employer and finish up with a question. With the employers it was basically [explaining what would happen today.]”

Sergeant Seth Fuller, a Flight Engineer with the Iowa National Guard’s Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment based in Davenport says there can be challenges to finding and keeping employment when serving in the military.

Sometimes scheduling can be a conflict. Make sure you get the time off in advance, sometimes your employer wants to know why your taking two weeks off in the middle of the summer that’s not vacation,” Fuller says. “You might have a family vacation in the first part of July but then have AT in the first week of august and they just don’t always understand that. Going on a deployment can sometimes be difficult. I just recently got back as well as a bunch of other guys in the Bravo Company. But letting them know ‘hey i’m gonna be gone for a year sometimes 15 months or more.’ They have to find someone to fill your position but at the same time hold your position for when you come back. That can be frustrating for employers sometimes.”

Sergeant Fuller adds that military members have resources available if they are having issues with their employer or with finding employment.

Luckily we’ve got the ESGR,” Fuller says referring to the ‘Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’ organization. “They’re great at helping mediate any issues you might have with your employer you might have while going on a drill or to employment. Fortunately for me I work for an ESGR certified company that they are military friendly.”

Sergeant Fuller served as a flight engineer for a special flight for employers and community leaders on-board an Iowa National Guard CH-47 Chinook Helicopter. The 10 minute flight took off from the Oskaloosa Airport before heading north toward the Guard Readiness Center. The flight passed over the Lacy Complex before heading back to the airport..

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