ARLINGTON, Va. -- In a ceremony at the Pentagon, National Guard Bureau leadership recently signed a memorandum of understanding with FASTPORT, a national employment services company, in an effort to provide Guard members additional outlets and resources while searching for civilian employment opportunities.

The partnership between the NGB and FASTPORT is one of a number of partnerships designed to provide Guard members the ability to connect with civilian employers.

"We have a number of different partners we work with," said Steve Kett, the director of employment support at the NGB. [This partnership is] one more arrow in the quiver."

The recently-signed memorandum delineates an agreement to explore, promote, and improve military hiring initiatives in multiple industry sectors, said Kett.

"We get a larger footprint and a large foot in the door," he said, adding that a meaningful civilian job is inherent to maintaining readiness.

"One of the huge keys to retention and recruitment is having a civilian job," Kett said.

More than 70 percent of Guard members serve part time, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Jessica Meyerann, the vice director of personnel with the NGB joint staff, during the signing ceremony.

"The rest of that time, they look to the private sector to find meaningful work that allows them to support themselves and their families and be great members of society," she said, adding that Guard members often have unique skill sets that translate to both the military and civilian sides.

Connecting Guard members with employers who value those skills is one of the primary missions of the NGB's office of employment support, and this agreement helps fulfill that mission, said Kett.

Others agreed.

"This MOU is a step to help us accomplish that goal," said Meyerann.