Army Reserve Chief Describes Employer Partnership Initiative
By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2009 An Army Reserve human capital strategy called the Employer Partnership Initiative is delivering staffing solutions and tangible incentives to businesses that employ Army Reserve soldiers while sustaining the operational nature of today’s force.
“What employers are telling us is when they hire a Reserve soldier, they don’t just get an employee, they get somebody that has a great work ethic, that has integrity, that has loyalty, that has dedication, and that productivity goes up,” Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, said to online journalists and bloggers Jan. 28.
Stultz came to his job with years of experience in the Army Reserve that has included several deployments.
“I have a good perspective, I think, in terms of how you go back and forth between a civilian to military, back to civilian -- some of the challenges it presents for both employers and the soldier, as well as for the family,” he said.
The Employer Partnership Initiative was launched in spring 2008, and complements the Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve program by finding career employment opportunities for soldiers with employers who understand the demands of today’s operational military climate and proactively seek to hire them.
“This truly is an operational force, and if you join the Army Reserve today, you are going to deploy,” Stultz said. “What we owe you is predictability. What we owe you is to take care of your family. What we owe you is to help you with your employer to make sure that you can maintain a civilian job while you’re serving your country. And, what we ask of you is your service.”
Stultz added that the Army Reserve’s retention is good, running at about 120 percent of its retention goal.
The EPI program benefits both the Army Reserve and potential employers, the general said.
“Rather than coming out and asking [employers] to give up [their] employees to be soldiers,” he explained, “[we ask them], ‘Why don’t you let me go recruit for you, because we share the same skill sets?’”
He added that one of the first organizations that Army Reserve officials talked with was the American Trucking Associations. “I’m recruiting truck drivers, and I’m training truck drivers, and I’m putting them into Iraq and Afghanistan to prove their capability,” he said.
Stultz added that after tapping into the trucking fields, officials sought future recruits from the medical community. Employers in other fields now are lining up to find the best candidates. “I’ve got 150 employers already signed up, [and] I’ve got 200 waiting,” Stultz said.
An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Army Reserve soldiers are mobilized on active duty, and about 20,000 of them are deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. The other mobilized reservists are serving in the United States in support and administration roles.
“Even in the current economic situation, we still have a lot of employers out there that are calling us every day,” Stultz said.
(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)