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National Guard Members See Much Improved Employment Numbers

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After high jobless rates in the past, a higher percentage of Wisconsin’s National Guard members now have jobs than the state’s overall population.

Two years ago, the jobless rate for members of Wisconsin Army National Guard was 10 percent. Now it’s half that, according to an annual employment survey conducted by the Guard’s Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC).

WERC’s manager is Captain Joe Ledger. He says since 2012, WERC has helped 530 service members, and their spouses, get jobs, with most of the hires occurring last year,“at an average of $17 an hour, so these aren’t low paying jobs.

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“Over the past 14 months we been able to place over 400 (individuals). We’ve done over 700 resumes, either reviewed or created them, and currently our caseload is 600 individuals,” Ledger went on.

Those numbers include Army Guard and Air National Guard. Both have lower rates of unemployment now than 2 years ago, with the Army Guard having the biggest drop.

The commander of the Wisconsin National Guard is Major General Donald Dunbar. He says jobs for service members allows them to focus on their mission, not worry about finances.

“We need the support of the community and the employer,” Dunbar said. “What we’ve seen in the last two years has been employers coming through to support not only the National Guard but our broader veterans’ community.”

The WERC program provides service members interview coaching, helps them prepare resumes and find employers.

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