North Carolina National Guard
The North Carolina National Guard, at the direction of Major General Greg Lusk, The Adjutant General of the North Carolina Command, made employment for soldiers and airmen a priority in 2013 when it established the Education and Employment Center (EEC) to address the growing concern about unemployment and underemployment among North Carolina service members. Unemployment disrupts Guard members’ professional and family lives and adversely affects the North Carolina National Guard’s ability to be mission ready.
Under the leadership of Brigadier General Kenneth Beard, a 33-year veteran of the Army National Guard and Assistant Adjutant General - Sustainment, the EEC has aggressively addressed these issues. Its positive results are attributable in no small part to the efforts of General Beard who relentlessly pursues all opportunities that may improve the career prospects of North Carolina service members. The EEC is a one stop-shop that assists service members and their families with education and employment placement. It comprises a 16-person employment team and a six-person education team strategically placed throughout the state to collaborate with North Carolina employers to increase career opportunities for service members.
The EEC employment team uses a direct placement process to establish one on one relationships with employers and recruiters and successfully match the skill sets of highly qualified service members with the needs of civilian employers. It is, in effect, a no-cost talent acquisition resource for North Carolina employers.
The EEC education team coordinates targeted training programs for service members to fill existing skills or knowledge gaps based on employer and industry workforce needs. These include a broad array of on-the-job training, apprenticeship, certification and credentialing programs.
The EEC has developed high credibility and good will with the North Carolina business community as a result of its outreach efforts, placing 729 candidates since July 2013. The EEC has also placed many candidates in apprenticeship, training and certification programs, many with guaranteed employment upon completion.
The EEC also leverages resources from alliances with nonprofits, associations, state agencies and community colleges to enhance the employment and education opportunities for Guard members.
The North Carolina Command has actively supported the American Jobs for America’s Heroes (AJAH) campaign by publicizing the campaign and encouraging North Carolina employers to post their open jobs. General Beard has participated in several webinars sponsored by AJAH that highlighted the North Carolina National Guard’s efforts to improve employment opportunities.