Operation Hire Djibouti

July 8, 2013 | By kentuckyguard
Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs DJIBOUTI, Africa -- An innovative website is helping deployed Kentucky National Guard Soldiers prepare for their return to civilian life.
http://operationhiredjibouti.com Operation Hire Djibouti is a collaborative effort between members of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade, Kentucky Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, and the Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office.


"What we were looking for was a one stop shop that gave our troops all they needed to find a job," said Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Chief of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Guard.  "All a Soldier has to do is sign on and follow the process and we can point them in the right direction toward a career."

"The key to this," he said, "is simplicity and effective response in the career-seeking process." With troops facing multiple deployments and a tough job market, it's no secret that unemployment among Guard members is fairly high, ranging from 12-15%. Out of the 500 deployed, around 170 were either unemployed or underemployed. Finding careers for servicemembers is a significant part of the mission of ESGR.  ESGR is a Department of Defense program that was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component servicemembers and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. ESGR is supported by a network of more than 4,900 volunteers in 54 committees located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to the ESGR website, "Volunteers, hailing from small business and industry, government, education and prior military service bring a vast wealth of experience to assist in serving employers, servicemembers and their families."
Operation Hire Djibouti is just the beginning, said Hilbrecht.  "We see this as a test bed for future deployments.  Wherever our troops are deployed, whether it's Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan ... it could even be Antarctica.  As long as they have an internet connection we can tailor a website to their needs and make sure they get all the information and opportunities they need, not just to get a job, but to find a meaningful and rewarding career.""All they need," he said, "is a laptop and the desire to better themselves."

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