The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 11, 2013

Our View: Program to get vets employed worked

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To the Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota employers Target, U.S. Bank, Best Buy, the Minnesota State Colleges and University System and St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, who worked together to create a jobs and training program for vets returning from the Middle East.

The employers actually sent representatives to a military base in the Middle East to run an intensive one-week program to help vets get back into the workforce when they returned home. They helped the vets write resumes, plan their careers and practice interviews.

The guard came up with the idea to hold the training before the soldiers got home, as many other distractions and adjustments take place when they return and that might prevent them from getting the job training. In this case, the soldiers were ready for work. The program also connected vets when they got back to employment resources, workforce centers and educational programs.

By all accounts the program was a resounding success. Most of the 2,700 National Guard soldiers from the “Red Bull” division who returned from the tours last spring have found work. Of the 500 who returned without civilian jobs, all but 35 have found work.

Guard officials planned this well, understanding that unemployment can cause many more problems, including drug and alcohol abuse.

The employment program was proactive and helped veterans be ready for the jobs they deserve.


Vacuum idea was golden

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To everyone at Eagle Lake Elementary school who has a hand in the Golden Vacuum Award.

Each week a classroom or other school area is graced with an upright vacuum, painted gold, which signifies exceptional cleanliness. The brilliant idea originated with fifth-grade teacher Katie Zimmerman, who spray-painted her own non-working vacuum for the special duty. Night custodians Evan Bartlett and Bill Anderson distribute the award once a week.

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