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Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 11:06am

Veteran Hiring Program Turns 40

Forty years ago this week, President Richard Nixon set up the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Program.

Georgia has 30,000 National Guard and Reserve members. As they come back from deployment, many are having a hard time getting back into the civilian workforce.

Patricia Moore, a Supply Sergeant in the Georgia Army National Guard, has been back from Iraq for five months. She says she didn’t get any response on her job applications until a volunteer with the ESGR program helped her get job interviews.

“She went over my resume with me. And I think that is great! Because before I was batting zero.”

The jobless rate among returning military members is several points higher than the national average. Experts say it’s difficult for employers to see how military experience can benefit their companies.

Jim McGarrah, state chair of the Georgia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program, says once managers hire someone from the military, they see the value to their company.

“What the employer will get is somebody who’s got a very strong work ethic, that understands teamwork, that understands leadership. You don’t normally get those things with people right off the street.”

In 2011, 2,000 Georgia companies participated in the ESGR program. About 100 program volunteers work with the servicemen and women.

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