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NEWS | June 13, 2011

DOD seeks input from Guard, Reserve employers

By Terri Moon Cronk American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - Defense Department officials want to hear by July 6 from the civilian employers of Reservists and National Guard members in a survey intended to measure the impact of service members on the civilian workplace.

Announced in March, the Department of Defense National Survey of Employers will indicate how the past decade of war and the heavy use of Reserve-component forces have affected civilian employers, officials said. It is the first time employers have been the center of such a survey, they added.

"Officials are encouraging all survey recipients who have not yet submitted their responses to do so today to ensure the study captures reliable results," said Beth Sherman, a spokeswoman for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency.

"Based on scheduled follow-up calls to employers invited to participate, the department learned a large portion of employers wanted to complete the survey via hard copy, versus participating online," Sherman said. "July 6 was set to allow ample time for those surveys to be returned, and this deadline affords employers the opportunity to provide comprehensive replies."

DOD officials contacted 80,000 employers of all sizes and industries in every state and territory during March and April to gain insight into the benefits and challenges of employing members of the Guard and Reserves. So far, Sherman said, enough surveys have come back to validate the results, but officials hope to hear from as many more employers as possible.

"As surveys continue coming in, the feedback equips DOD to build on the success of the past and chart a mutually beneficial course for the future," Sherman said.

Because Guard and Reserve members make up nearly 50 percent of the military's total strength, Sherman said, feedback from employers is important.

"The Department of Defense wants to learn how we can help sustain the incredible support America's employers have shown our Guard and Reserve members through nearly 10 years of ongoing military operations," she said, "and employer participation in this survey is critical."

Sherman said employers can click on the survey link on the ESGR website to give their feedback on employing members of the Guard and Reserve. Those who want to submit the hard-copy version of the survey must postmark responses by June 30, she added.

Employers who believe they received the survey, but need assistance, should visit the website to learn how they can still participate, Sherman said.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 to develop and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service.

ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers.

Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guard members and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.



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