News: Rochester employers participate in ESGR’s 'Boss Lift' at Fort Bragg
Story by Staff Sgt. Amanda Smolinski
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – More than 40 employers and supervisors participated in the Rochester, N.Y. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committee’s Boss Lift which transported them to military training sites on Pope Air Force base and Fort Bragg, N.C. where they observed National Guard and Reserve members on active duty, May 3-4.
Lt. Col. Stacy Babcock, G-5 for the United States Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), served as the guest speaker at a dinner held for employers. She explained to them that the military is purely reliant on the reserve component service members to provide the skills received in the civilian sector. “This is especially true within Civil Affairs where the military gains those skills from soldiers within civilian organizations and then provides them formal training [which enhances their skill sets to another level which in return offers more to the civilian organization],” said Babcock.
The Boss Lift allowed employers and supervisors to see firsthand the type of training and leadership activities National Guard and Reserve soldiers participate in while they are away from their civilian job performing their military duties.
Throughout the two day visit to N.C., employers had the opportunity to tour the 18th Airborne Corps, visit with Army Parachute Riggers, receive a brief by an Army Civil Affairs Officer and participate in the Engagement Training Simulator. “I’ve witnessed that these service members are motivated and focused in their job positions,” said C.P. Maloney, CEO of an alternative wind Energy Company, CPM and Associates, in New York.
James R. Vogel, retired Marine Corps Col. and Rochester, N.Y. ESGR committee member, explains that most of the employers and supervisors who participated have not had exposure to what it’s like to be on a military installation or part of a military community. They came to the Boss Lift event because they currently have a Reserve Component Service member working for them, they have worked for them in the past or they are seeking information on what a service member could bring to their organization if they hired them.
Boss Lift offers employers the opportunity to share their insights on the challenges and benefits of having employees that serve in the Reserve components. Employers are encouraged to offer recommendations and ideas for improving the employer and employee relationship with respect to the unique experience of their employees’ military service.
A deployment for any soldier can be stressful, but as a Reserve component soldier, they don’t only leave their family and friends behind, they leave their employer as well. "No one wants to spend a year in another country that may not be the best place to be away from their family and wonder if their job will be there when they get back,“ said Babcock. “There are two things that assist in making a mission successful: one is family and two is the job; you cannot do it without support from both of them.”
When Cpt. Nicki Wade, S6 for USACAPOC’s 1st Training Brigade, returned from her deployment to Iraq in 2004, she could not have been more pleased with her transition back to her civilian career as an elementary teacher in Little Rock, Ark. “They were so supportive of me; they sent hundreds of letters while I was deployed,” said Wade. “I feel that communication was a key factor to the success of my transition just as it is with any relationship. I kept them abreast of my situation; although communication was not always consistent, I did not leave them uninformed.”
Dennis Lutz, ESGR’s Regional Chairperson in Genesse, N.Y. explained to the employers that it helps soldiers when know they have an employer who understands that they have a lot on their plate but that they are bringing a sense of maturity to the workplace that would otherwise be hard pressed to find. “Soldiers are used to juggling a lot of balls in the air,” said Lutz. “But they are eager to get the job done and to a high standard.”
Although employers like Maloney do not have any current employees who are part of the Reserve component, he says that when he is ready to start hiring again for his company, he will be looking to hire veterans. “Before I came here, I wanted to know what we can do to help service members when they come back from overseas,” he said.
ESGR is comprised of 4,500 volunteers from 56 local ESGR Field Committees, their positions range from business executives, senior government representatives, educators and military personnel. Their purpose is to advocate relevant initiatives, recognize outstanding support, increase awareness of applicable laws and resolve conflict between employers and service members. ESGR recognizes that soldiers’ civilian employers are “patriot partners” and without their support the military mission would not be successful.
A local ESGR Committee may conduct several Boss Lifts in a year if their resources and support allow. To learn more, visit the ESGR website at www.esgr.org. If you are interested in planning and conducting a Boss Lift for your unit call the ESGR at 1-800-336-4590.