Association Pledges Support for Troops
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 19, 2010 The world’s largest association for human resource management today affirmed its commitment to bettering employment opportunities and benefits for citizen servicemembers by signing a statement of support endorsed by the Defense Department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve agency.
From left: Lon O'Neil, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management; Dennis McCarthy, assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs; and Rob Van Cleave, the society's board chairman, stand together just after O'Neil and Van Cleave signed a statement of the society's support for the National Guard and Reserve at a conference in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2010. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Society of Human Resource Management, and its more than 260,000 members, formally made this pledge during the society’s Employment Law and Legislative Conference here, which hosted more than 650 human resources professionals.
Dennis McCarthy, assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs, joined the society’s president and CEO Lon O’Neil and board chairman Rob Van Cleave as they signed the statement.
“Thank you for the action of your leadership and organization,” McCarthy told the society’s representatives. “This is a great opportunity for [the Defense Department] to witness your commitment.”
The society’s partnership with the Defense Department will ensure human resources organizations throughout the nation continue to solicit support and take part in National Guard and Reserve programs, he added.
McCarthy stressed that today’s generation of citizen servicemembers may be the nation’s “next greatest generation.” He urged employers to look at hiring and retaining those servicemembers, calling them the best young Americans the nation has to offer.
“Thanking them for their service is very important,” he said, “but so, too, is to tap into their potential.”
Van Cleave agreed, calling the partnership mutually beneficial to the civilian work force and the military.
“If we look at the situation somewhat selfishly, these returning Guard and Reserve members represent a terrific talent pool,” he said. “They are skilled, mature individuals whose dedication and work ethic have been tested and proven.”
He praised citizen warriors for putting the nation’s needs ahead of their own. Americans owe the military a debt of gratitude for their selfless service and willingness to sacrifice, he said.
“They have given Uncle Sam a blank check to be used as needed, a check payable with anything, including their lives,” he said of U.S. military members. “We owe them our worry, and in gratitude, we pledge to support them as they support and protect us.”
The society is made up of more than 260,000 members in all 50 states. Along with hiring and ensuring pay, compensation and benefits for employed citizen servicemembers called to duty, local chapters in several states also have headed working groups to help military members find work.
Programs have been implemented, most recently in New Jersey and Indiana, to help military members and veterans prepare resumes and improve interviewing skills.
“It’s our expertise … [and] knowledge of organizational structures and business trends that can steer [citizen servicemembers] toward job opportunities,” Van Cleave said. “It’s our dedication that will drive development of policies and practices that support and encourage our organizations to participate in Guard and Reserve programs.”