ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 24, 2009) - Because of the current slow economy, some Guard members are returning from deployments to find their civilian job has been downsized or completely done away with.

So, the Army National Guard has implemented several employment initiatives to help Soldiers during this time of transition.

First, the ARNG partnered with the Army Reserve in the Employer Partnership Initiative, an online database that helps match Soldiers with employers who have openings for specific jobs, said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Cannariato, branch chief of the Guard's Employment and Outreach office.

"They can do a search based on a description of a job, a zip code, a city. There are multiple things they can do," said Cannariato.

Currently, the program has more than 700 partnered businesses that have listings throughout the country, said Army Maj. Robert Lee, manager for the program. And since it is Web-based, that means that Soldiers can access it from anywhere and at any time, including during deployments.

"We want to be proactive and provide those resources for Soldiers while they are deployed downrange," said Lee. "What we can do now is push these resources out to Soldiers while they are still downrange, so they can get online and start building those relationships with these employers and perhaps send their resumes out."

While the site maintains a partnership with businesses with possible job openings, Soldiers still must be qualified for the jobs they are seeking.

"The Soldier still must be qualified and have those credentials and qualifications (that the job requires)," said Cannariato. "They still must provide a resume and fill out an application. They still must be selected for the interview, be interviewed and sell themselves and hopefully get employment."

And for those that may need assistance with resume writing and brushing up on interview skills and techniques, the Job Connection Education Program may be able to help with that.

The program includes a network of resources that provides answers to questions submitted online via the EPI Web site. It also provides face-to-face assistance with resumes, interviewing skills and other items needed to better prepare the Soldier, who is seeking new civilian employment.

"We've put a team together to go out to the area where the Soldiers are and assist those Soldiers with resume writing and interview techniques," said Lee.

That team, however, is geared primarily to those returning from deployments and the team schedules their time to meet with Soldiers a few months after they have returned, said Lee.

In addition to these programs, Soldiers may also be able to take advantage of the Veteran's Administration's Hire-a-Vet program, and many individual states offer employment resources for Soldiers.

"There are various things out there that our Soldiers right now can take advantage of if they need to look for new employment," said Cannariato.

The goal, said Cannariato, is supporting Soldiers. "They're not in the fight by themselves," he said. "The goal is keeping them in that unit and that local community."

For more information, and to access the Employer Partnership Initiative Web site, go to:

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy writes for the National Guard Bureau.)