A recent trip to hang out with military and military training personnel in Colorado Springs, CO was “the ultimate professional experience of a lifetime,” said Western Springs Police Chief Pamela Church.
The three-day trip, called “Bosslift 2011,” was sponsored by the Illinois Committee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and was designed to show the intensity of the training that soldiers receive to prospective future employers of military personnel and veterans
“We believe, and we know, that a lot of employers don’t understand the quality of the training,” said Terry McCollon, Illinois Military Outreach Director for the ESGR (and a Western Springs resident.)
“What we try to say is, ‘hey, look, if you hire a military person, you’re getting someone disciplined and organized.’”
Church, along with fellow Bosslift participants, participated in some of the training given to military personnel. The group toured the headquarters of space-operations squadrons, had a number of personal conversations with the soldiers, ate in their dining facilities and even got to see a demonstration of a mobile missile launcher. They also attended a briefing on the global role of organizations like NORTHCOM and NORAD.
“As a law enforcement professional, I thought I had some of the best training available,” Church said. “But… I was truly overwhelmed with the scope of our military’s involvement around the world, including law enforcement, in the defense of our nation.”
Church added that there are many parallels between organizing a large military complex and organizing a small-town suburban police force, like managing budgets and maintaining accountability for equipment.
“When soldiers come back and are in need of jobs, I would like to support their ability to get jobs either in Western Springs [or elsewhere,]” Church said. “Their training and their leadership skills would be a great benefit to our department, what they bring to the job.”
According to the ESGR website, the Department of Defense organization works “to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.”
Unemployment rates for military veterans are often higher than for civilians The unemployment rate for civilians is currently 9.1 percent, while the unemployment rate for veterans is 12.4 percent.