By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota National Guard is helping their soldiers get ready for civilian jobs, all while they are still in Kuwait.

Officials with the Minnesota National Guard said the unemployment rate is about 19 percent for its members leaving the military. A group of Minnesotans are in Kuwait now teaching the soldiers skills to find jobs when they get back home.

With a two-way satellite link, Minnesota’s National Guard showed off its technical abilities while highlighting a program to help returning soldiers get jobs when they get home. Nine civilians from state government and Minnesota corporations are leading these classes.

They hope to reach more than 1,000 of the 2,700 Red Bulls, showing them how to write resumes and succeed in interviews.

“I came home in 2005 and we didn’t have anything like this. I watched my fellow veterans struggle with these very things, going back to school and finding jobs,” said Tony Tengwall with the Minnesota Veterans Affairs.

Since many of the veterans will go to school when they return, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities sent a representative to Kuwait. She is helping soldiers figure out what training is best for them.

“One of the purposes of the team was to help soldiers to translate the skills that they’ve learned in the military into the corporate world, into the civilian world,” said Steve Frantz with MNSCU.

The commander of the Red Bulls in Kuwait said he sent out a call for help, and that he is very pleased with the nine members of the Employment Resource Team.

“We did very well against the enemy. Let’s use the same techniques and redefine the enemy. The enemy is now unemployment, how do we beat this thing and we quickly found out we couldn’t do this by ourselves,” said Colonel Eric Kerska with the Minnesota National Guard.

The Red Bulls will begin coming home from Kuwait this spring.  The Minnesota Guard will then check with them every 30 days to see if they have found work or job training.

Comments (6)
  1. elmo says:

    Check out Next Step Staffing in St Paul. They are a Staffing Agency specialized in Vets and other hard to hire clients.

  2. haroldpagan says:

    When it comes to unemployment it’s been a tale of two recessions, with level of education playing an unprecedented role in whether you’ve been pink slipped or not. Getting a degree from High Speed Universities is the only solution

  3. James says:

    Good intentions can have unintended consequences. Some managers may not want to hire someone who doesn’t have the energy and motivation to find a job on their own.

  4. Andy says:

    Completely agree James.

  5. Jim Sardonia says:

    I think this is a great program, and I applaud the MN National Guard for this initiative. This should be a benchmark for all National Guard units in all States. As a former member of the National Guard, this type of program would have been extremely useful to many of my fellow soldiers. The least we can do when our National heroes return back home is to give them the chance to excel and succeed in their civilian life. My advice to returning National Guard members would be to take advantage of this program. My company would not at all look at this negatively; the person would probably have a higher chance of being hired if they participated in this. Companies like Siemens (the company I work for) are actively looking for returning Veterans to fill our open positions. I recommend that Veterans looking to transition to a civilian to take a look at this website and the Siemens USA Jobs website for available positions. Siemens is hiring and we are hiring with Veteran’s preference. Great Job MN.

  6. Becky says:

    My husband builds garages and would love to hire a vet!!! He is a garage builder. Is in need of 2 people.

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