MAY 26, 2020 – Being a citizen soldier in an ever-changing world with unexpected natural disasters and unseen enemies is what a member of the Michigan National Guard is trained for. With the possibility of a call to come at any time, the importance of Military Friendly schools and employers is high. With over 1,000 Soldiers and Airmen activated in response to COVID-19 and 200 for the flood response in Midland, Mich., many service members have had to leave their civilian jobs with little notice, unenroll from school or finish their semesters in the field.
Flexibility is key for the service members as well as the schools and employers. Those organizations that provide support for Guard members are deemed military or veteran-friendly.
“Veteran-Friendly Schools and Employers recognize the value of attracting veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve to their classrooms and workplaces,” says Sarah Mellon, Education Analyst, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA).
“Dedication, loyalty, focus, mission-oriented. These are attributes that employers and schools value and actively seek out. Institutions and organizations that strive to understand military culture, how to effectively communicate with veterans, who actively seek them out – those are what makes an organization veteran or military-friendly.”
Organizations in the state of Michigan have the ability to employ highly qualified, motivated, and goal-driven members of the National Guard, and through the MVAA also comes added benefits.
“The MVAA provides no-cost training on a wide range of subjects such as Military Cultural Competence, Successful Veteran Talent Attraction Strategies, Interviewing Veterans, PTS, and mTBI in the Workplace, and others.” Mellon explains, “Certification also allows schools and employers to use our logo in their advertising and recruiting materials. Additionally, they are featured on the interactive Veteran-Friendly dashboard on the MVAA’s website.”
Military friendly employers are also aware of and support the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which promotes healthy work environments for all reserve force components and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, a Federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed Service members and their civilian employers.
The Michigan National Guard offers many educational benefits to its service members as well. With the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance program, the Montgomery GI-Bill Select Reserve, Federal Tuition Assistance (Army), and at select schools, the National Guard Education Grant, it has never been easier for members of the Michigan National Guard to get an education. Schools certified as military-friendly provide a multitude of incentives that can be found MVAAs Veteran-Friendly Schools website. According to the MVAA, “schools have access to institution-specific training, military transfer credit equivalency information, and resources available to military-connected students.”
Schools that support National Guardsmen are supporting students in the local community who have answered the call to serve this country that only 1% of Americans do. This very unique and deserving population is career-minded, focused, and has already been introduced to Military values and ethics. This is a student population that will add diversity, new experiences, and outlooks on life, to any classroom.
Story by 2nd Lt. Ashley Goodwin
Michigan National Guard