Employer Orientation Day Aims to Educate

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott L. McLaughlin

One weekend a month, more than 2,100 446th Airlift Wing Citizen Airmen venture to McChord Field for training so when their nation calls upon them to deploy they’re ready.

When not here training, the vast majority of our wing serves locally at various employment positions ranging from teaching to law enforcement. When Citizen Airmen are called up to serve, it’s important that employers understand that their employee’s absence helps keep our country and world a safer place.

Each year in June, we hold an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Employer Orientation Day to showcase the Reserve mission to civilian employers so they get a real understanding of what their Reservists do when activated.

With ongoing deployments and worldwide contingency operations support, unit training weekends and annual tours, civilian employers frequently find themselves missing employees who serve in the Reserve.

Employers who have a clear understanding of what their employees do while serving in the Reserve are more likely to be supportive and have a good employer/employee relationships.

Right now, Rainier Wing Citizen Airmen are busy planning the Employer Orientation Day jam-packed with exciting demonstrations of airpower, including a combat offload and an airdrop performed in a C-17 Globemaster III. Civilian employers will have the opportunity to see what it’s like for Reservists to deploy by going through a mock deployment process and flying a C-17 local mission.

The Employer Day is made possible by the Washington ESGR, which is almost an entirely volunteer agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The agency helps to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers.

In addition to educating employers, ESGR educates service members and their civilian employers regarding their rights and responsibilities governed by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

ESGR does not have statutory authority to enforce, but serves as a neutral, free resource to employers and service members. ESGR’s trained ombudsmen provide mediation of issues relating to compliance with USERRA.

Reservists can nominate their immediate supervisor, human resources specialists, or an executive or owner of the business they work for, to spend the day with the wing learning about the Air Force Reserve, the Rainier Wing and its missions, and how Citizen Airmen serve.