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Nominate your employer for the Boss Lift

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Conn. -- If you’re a member of the Army or Air National Guard who is employed by a civilian employer, that employer may be wondering what you do during drill weekends or annual training and why you are obligated to attend. The Boss Lift, a program offered by the ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve), can put your civilian employers curiosity to rest.

A recent Boss Lift event held by Connecticut ESGR gave civilian employers the opportunity to see what Army and Air National Guard members do during drills and annual training. The event was comprised of a full-day of activities, which included tours of the C-130 Hercules, the aircraft engine shop and training facilities, as well as a ride on a UH-60 helicopter, and a military working dog demonstration.

“This program is important, because it gives them an idea what their employers do when they’re a member of the National Guard,” said Lt. Col Charles Jaworski, Deputy G1 for the Connecticut Army National Guard. “We do this to explain what we do, why your employee has to come here for the weekend and for annual training.”

For Guardsmen and Reservists, balancing military commitments with the responsibilities of a civilian job can be especially challenging if their civilian employer does not understand Guard and Reserve duty requirements; the employer may resist allowing time off for their employees to perform military duty.

Through programs like the Boss Lift, ESGR educates employers on applicable laws regarding military service and promotes employer support for Guard and Reserve members.

“ESGR is specifically there to assist when situations arise between the employee and the employer,” said Jaworski. “There may be an employer who is resistant to let their employee go to drill on the weekend or for annual training. ESGR will get involved and try to mediate a situation. I think it opens their [employers] eyes to see the different jobs that we have and the different specialties that we have in the National Guard and it gives them and idea to see how busy the [military members] are and how much work they do.”

Benedikt Kraus, Boehringer Ingelheim Head of Regional Governance-U.S., was impressed by the activities demonstrated during the Boss Lift.

“I was invited, because one of our staff members is serving in the National Guard regularly and he organized the event and invited us for it,” said Kraus. “I’m very proud to be invited and very impressed by all the activities. I had no idea of all of the support that the National Guard is giving, all the training development, and how our employees, one the one hand, help and serve the nation, but on the other hand, learn while being on those assignments.”

According to Kraus, an employee’s military experience could be valuable to a company in a variety of ways.

“There’s the topic of work experience-diverse work experience, and technical subject matter expertise, but I would say, more importantly, that it’s the discipline and leadership and managerial skills that he has learned and grew here,” said Kraus.

Lt. Col. Jaworski wants to encourage members of the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard to nominate supportive employers for the Boss Lift Event and other ESGR recognition.

“If you’re happy that your employer supports you for drills and ATs, if you’re happy that your employer always gives you the freedom you need to come to drills and attend your training, nominate them for an award, nominate them for a boss lift.”

Members of the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard who are interested in nominating their employer to participate in the Boss Lift can contact Connecticut ESGR at (860) 548-3295.