VIDEO: ESGR Teams Up With Local Businesses to Help Returning Guam Guardsmen Find Jobs

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Guam – As the nearly 600 soldiers of the Guam National Guard prepare to return home from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, nearly half of them will be unemployed. But local organizations are teaming up to ensure that opportunities will be available to them and any other unemployed soldier currently seeking a job on Guam. “So now that they’re in, what do we do? They’re unemployed, they got issues with passing the test, we understand that, we wanna help you, regardless, we wanna help you. You went for a year to Afghanistan to fight for our freedom, we owe you that much,” states Lt. Col. Robert Crisostomo with the Guam Army National Guard.

Today a couple of workshops were held that would give veterans and their families direct access to employment opportunities as well as entrepreneurship programs.

Phil Sanchez is among the hundreds of unemployed Guam Guard soldiers. Sanchez was furloughed in September. And with a baby on the way, he’s looking to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve or ESGR for answers.

“I’m here for the VA benefits, to learn about the VA benefits and learn about the federal government employments,” says Sanchez.

“How have you been able to support yourself for the last few months,” we ask.

“I’m a certified computer technician, I’m an IT specialist and I’ve just been doing sideline jobs just to make ends meet,” he explains.

Guam Veterans Business Outreach Center Director Frank Crisostomo-Kaaihue was one of the presenters at today’s ESGR workshop. His goal is to help veterans start their own business.

“I’ve had a veteran that was actually released by a local company and took his skills and actually started getting a contract with the federal government because he had set skills. And when he was working for the local business it was $43,000 a year, now that he started his own business it’s $95,000 to $105,000 a yea,” says Kaaihue about the salary of one of the soldiers he helped.

Meanwhile, The Guam Community College also held a Keep Your Guard Up Initiative for employers who are part of the college’s apprenticeship program. Lt. Col. Robert Crisostomo with the Guam Army national Guard encouraged employers to work with this initiative to hire soldiers from the Guard.

“In giving this brief, I’m looking at you and I’m imploring you to consider our national guardsmen, citizen soldiers. They’re coming back. They’re part of our community but more so they served,” he told local employers at the workshop.

For questions or information on the upcoming job fairs or workshops, contact Cathy Gogue at 777-2281 or email at cathy.gogue@gmail.com or the ESGR Office at 735-0456 or visit the Guam-CNMI ESGR Facebook page.