Guard, Reserve Reach Out to Employers
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2004 The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is teaming up with local Chambers of Commerce to salute local employers who have demonstrated exceptional support for their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
The initiative is part of a broad outreach program to provide information and assistance to employers, local professional business organizations, local government officials and members of the Guard and Reserve, officials said.
According to Bob Hollingsworth, ESGR executive director, the program marks a shift for the Defense Department agency, generally considered a resource for members of the reserve component.
"Saluting America's employers is the right thing to do, and this is the right time to do it," said Hollingsworth. "During this time of unprecedented mobilizations of the brave men and women who serve in the National Guard and Reserve, the mission of ESGR has evolved from an emphasis on individual reservists to their employers."
The ESGR National Employer Outreach Program for 2004 will introduce a new five- star employer support program this year in about 100 cities, according to Hollingsworth. Participants will sign a statement of support for the Guard and Reserve expected to extend to 10,000 employers in all 48 contiguous states.
In addition, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve will conduct symposiums to help employers ensure that their companies are in compliance with laws providing job protections for Guardsmen and Reservists. The seminars also will provide suggestions for managing employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve, Hollingsworth said.
One feature of the program will be a five-race NASCAR Busch Series salute to Guard and Reserve employers. ESGR and Richard Childress Racing are putting together a "dream team" of NASCAR's biggest stars for the series.
The ESGR No. 29 car will be painted in a rotating paint scheme at each race to represent all reserve components.
A NASCAR show car, known as "America's car," also will be displayed at Chamber of Commerce functions to salute Guard and Reserve employers. The public will get the opportunity to be photographed with the car and to sign several large "Support our Troops" banners.
Officials said the goal is to collect 1.2 million signatures, one for every member of the National Guard and Reserve, and to display the banners in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the United States and overseas.
(Based on a news release from the Office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.)