Close to 300 deployed will remain home unemployed - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Close to 300 deployed will remain home unemployed

by Krystal Paco

Guam - By this time next month, 600 of our island's deployed soldiers will be making the transition to come home from Afghanistan. Although their homecoming is welcome news, almost half of these men and women in uniform will be returning unemployed.

The Keep Your Guard Up program is an effort in full force to assist unemployed Guardsmen looking for hire.

"We need to get them jobs and its an initiative launched by the governor and the adjutant general Benny Paulino to address this issue. It's a critical issue for us because it's a retention issue if these soldiers who can't get jobs here on Guam look elsewhere, we lose a soldier - a skilled soldier. So we don't want that," said Lt. Colonel Robert Crisostomo. He is referring to the Keep Your Guard Up program - a program that supports our troops and recently, has focused efforts on marrying potential employers with unemployed Guardsmen like Francis Santos who was active duty before transferring to the National Guard.

Santos tells KUAM despite her experience as an attack helicopter mechanic, its been a struggle these last three months to land a job. "I'm a certified mechanic with the Army. I'm working on completing my air frame and power frame license with the FAA. I've actually got several experiences having been that I've deployed twice with the active duty Army so I've got everything from hazardous waste material certification to generator operator mechanics. I don't want to say the list goes on but there's just so much certification that I had to go through with the active duty to fit their well rounded criteria in the aviation field," she said.

Recently a Keep Your Guard Up briefing at the Guam Community College unveiled survey results from our troops in Afghanistan on their interests and training to date.

With these findings, GCC's Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development has stepped in to develop a 90-day industry certification program in six areas which includes a plus computer networking, electrical, emergency medical technician, heating ventilation and air conditioning and supervision and management. "In 90 days they will receive certification that will last them a lifetime. It's a career choice. And this 90-day course starts mid February after the soldiers arrive when the soldiers arrive in January, they'll have time to spend with their family but immediately after we're starting the 90-day course," he said.

With assistance from keep your guard up, Santos is hopeful she'll have better luck impressing potential employers, saying, "I just hope that a lot of employers take away from this that there are some very good quality service men and women out there that could use the job and need the job.

 If you're in the Guard, the Reserve, a spouse, or a veteran still looking for a job, a job fair hosted by the  Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is set for Monday, December 16 at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort.

Military friendly employers will be on site. Attendees are asked to bring their resumes and be ready for on-site interviews.

The fair starts at 9 am and rounds out at 3 pm.

For more information, call Cathy Gogue at 777-2281 or call the ESGR office at 735-0456 or visit the ESGR Guam CNMI Facebook page.

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