I’m now blogging at http://thevirtualvirtuoso.wordpress.com
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Author Archives: colinewalther
I’m now blogging at http://thevirtualvirtuoso.wordpress.com
Some great points about thinking about how our words will be perceived, before we speak. I like Stephanie’s last paragraph were she gives some tips on how to be assertive and let other people know when they are being rude.
RT @luzdonahue: Facebook Tests Celebrities-Only App For Checking And Replying To Fan Chatter http://t.co/uae0icT3mZ I think this is a good thing, but businesses that use social media are going to want to get in on this, too. What do you think?
I saw that I have some new followers of this blog, I would love it if you would follow my other blogs too; I plan to delete this one in a few days.
Toni Morrison Google Hangout Today @ 3PM EST
So here is the end of the matter: abortion wrong, Jesus right. Murder evil, God good. Don’t like that? Sorry, it is the truth, I did not write the book on it, and I make no apologies. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, as long as what they believe does not result in them taking the life of another human being.
To answer some previous points that were brought up, yes, an acorn is an oak tree; if it originally came from an oak tree, that it can’t be any other kind of tree. Ditto for a chicken egg; if an egg comes from a chicken, it is not going to hatch as an ostrich or a penquin.
But if you want to believe differently, go right ahead. The beauty of living here in America is that people can still believe what they want to believe without losing their lives for it. At least in theory, and I don’t know how long that freedom will last, we seem to be losing it fast.
As Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
Somewhere in the middle a casualty of war exists in the form of privately owned businesses. Reservists that own a company must find someone to run their company while they are deployed. For some reservists this means shutting down a business and losing everything to service their country.
The men and women that served to protect us are in need of protection now. We have been here before and the results were not good. After the Vietnam War the unemployment rate for military soldiers’ was very high. The Gulf War-era brought an unemployment rate that was 11.6 percent; that translates into 958,000 unemployed veterans. [Albany Times Union, 2009]
The future doesn’t look good when our businesses and our heroes are at war.
The Veteran’s Association has many programs available to soldiers but for a lot of reservists this is not an option. V.A. centers may not be easy to access. Just like a reservists’ family not having access to military base support; a veteran may not have access to veteran support. That is why many companies are implementing their own programs to assist returning veterans. Samuel Greencard state, “BNSF Railway Company employs about 6,000 veterans who represent about 15 percent of its workforce, and more than 1,000 BNSF employees have been called to active duty since 2001. The firm offers these employees “whole pay” and sustained benefits while they are away. BNSF must ‘make adjustments and plan ahead when service members are called to active duty,’ says John Wesley III, manager of military staffing.”
BNSF Railway Co. is a leading example of how to address the military workforce soldier issue, but not all companies can afford to take such a remarkable approach to caring for their military personnel. This should stand as a starting place for other companies and organizations to find new ways to implement a system using the example of BNSF Railway Co.
Veterans seeking help can visit the Veteran’s Association online and be linked to different groups within the VA that can assist with medical care, disability, PTSD, drug and alcohol counseling. The VA can also refer veterans to legal counsel if needed. There are also civilian organizations that assist military personnel with employment, housing, support groups and with readjusting to civilian life. You can find many organizations listed online or in your community. The VFW (Veteran’s Foreign Wars) and the American Legion are two organizations that can help point a veteran to organizations that are in their area.
It is time the government took responsibility for the soldiers. Organizations that are branches of the military system are not organized or properly managed, and fall short of fulfilling the needs of veterans. The VA does not have the capability to provide the needed support that all veterans are entitled to. It is time the VA was restructured so that the needs of all veterans: reservists, retired and disabled soldiers receive what is truly due to them. This organization needs to meet the needs of each individual that has served this country without hesitation.
The goal is for veterans to be provided with the support and care they need. The VA needs to be divided. It has become an organization too big to do any good. There needs to be two branches to the VA; a veterans branch and a veterans medical branch. One side deals with the physical and psychological health of veterans, and the other side deals with the needs of transitioning the veteran back to civilian life through training, education and assisting with employment/reemployment.
This is not a get out of jail free card for businesses. They need to remember that their soldier is being deployed to fight for the freedom of this country, and as a company there is a responsibility to this soldier. That is to provide them with the assistance they need to come back and return to their job.
For someone interested in helping veterans there are many organizations already in place that need volunteers, but there is a new need that can’t be overlooked. Small business owner/reservist that is called to duty must sacrifice their businesses to serve. There is a need for an organization that can connect skilled and educated people willing to assist small business owning reservists. An organization or groups that can help keep these businesses’ running while the owner serves as a soldier. This will be a daunting task, but one that needs to be addressed.
When everyone is contributing and assisting veterans, as they transition back to civilian life the problem becomes a lot smaller. America has enough military history to show what happens when veterans are not helped. The reality is right now there are 21.5 million veterans [U.S. Census Bureau] that served this country during wars, conflicts, humanitarian reliefs, and in peace. Now it is time to serve them.
This is a difficult time for civilians and reservists alike but if the government, companies, organizations, civilians and reservists work together many solutions will be developed and our heroes will be given the welcome home they deserve. Not the shallow empty parades that fade away but instead the support, and help they need to resume taking care of their families and the chance to live the America Dream.
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Newpapers. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.
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Garamone, Jim. “Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve.” Defense.gov News
Article: Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve. U.S. Department of Defense,
14 Feb. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .
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Leaving a job, even with a modest guarantee that it will be there when you get back is a hard task. For the working military, the fear of being replaced, and not being able to support their family only adds to the trauma soldiers’ face on the battlefield every day. To make matters worse, there are loopholes in the USERRA, and soldiers’ are being denied their job back upon return from deployment.
Court cases against companies can last years and reservists are left jobless in the meantime. Dave Lenckus states,” The U.S. Department of Defense last figures showed 17,000 to 21,000 active duty personnel being released from duty per month.” Add to that the 32,000 plus reservists’ coming back home and it is a recipe for disaster. The unemployment rate for veterans will continue to rise as soldiers fight for their jobs, and compete for new employment in a job market that can barely employ civilians.
As a battle rages in the military sector, one is brewing in the private sector as well. Companies and businesses are crying foul as laws are passed to protect the jobs of reservists.
For employers the problems are many from the wording of the USERRA to the amount of time a reservist has to apply for re-employment. Jerry Geisel points out, “Employers with 401(k) plans must give returning veterans the opportunity to make retroactive contributions. Companies will have to match those retroactive deferrals to the same extent they matched the other workers’ contributions during the period of military service. Returning employees have no more than five years-in which to make retroactive contributions.”
If financial issues aren’t enough there is a bigger issue with re-employing veterans. As Samuel Greencard illustrates, “It’s a challenging environment,” says David Dahler, director of human resources for insurance and consulting giant Aon Corp. Although many troops return ready to tackle a job in the corporate world, “a lot of individuals come back and spend months re-acclimating to private life. Some of them aren’t entirely ready for a formal job and all that comes with it.”
Aon is one of a few companies that have implemented policies and programs to help veteran’s transition back to civilian life. Samuel Greencard states, “Challenges range from creating programs to train and assimilate veterans to figuring out what to do with an employee who has filled in for a reservist returning from deployment.”
When dealing with returning veterans a company will have to deal with the transition from military life to civilian life. “The military does a great job turning civilians into soldiers,” said Greg Langan, the Mendota Heights, Minn. based director of risk control services at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., “But when military personnel return from active duty, ‘there’s no transition for them into civilian life,” reiterates Dave Lenckus.
Dave Lenckus indicates that, “Many returning enlistees are young and lack experience in the workplace. Some also face psychological and physical challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD,”
Dealing with returning soldiers is going to be a tough task for most businesses and it is clear that the smaller the company or business the greater the task will be. Small businesses do not have the resources necessary to retrain, counsel or provide financial assistance to their returning veteran.