Guard Helps Returning Vets Find Jobs, Schooling

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.

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