Northwest honored by Department of Defense for extraordinary support

Mississippi Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program, announced today Doug Freeze, assistant director of Workforce Development and Dwayne Casey, associate dean of Workforce Development and Manufacturing Programs receivedthe ESGR Patriot Award in recognition of the extraordinary support of Northwest Mississippi Community College employees who serve in the Mississippi Guard and Reserve.

“The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a widerange of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed,” said Aubrey Ray, Mississippi ESGR State Chair. “Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

Northwest joinsthousands of American employers who have reviewed and amended their current human resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Many employers provide support far beyond what USERRA requires, including pay differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits to complement coverage provided by the military when their employees are mobilized.

Gary (Jake) Michel, Workforce Development trainer/facilitator on the Senatobia campus, nominated Freeze and Casey for the honor. “Less than one percent of the United States population serves in the armed forces; I am honored to be counted among that one percent. Working a full-time job, attending school, and being a father and husband take up most of my time. Serving in the National Guard is a privilege to me, and I could not do it if it were not for the support that I receive from Doug and Dwayne, as well as Northwest Mississippi Community College. Thank you for supporting me in my commitment to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” said Michel.

“We love our military folks at Northwest,” Casey said. “They bring a lot to the table and do a lot for us at Northwest.”

            ESGR seeks to foster a culture where all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. ESGR facilitates and promotes a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service by developing and advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of applicable laws and policies, resolving potential conflicts between employers and their service members, and acting as the employers’ principal advocate within DoD. Furthermore, ESGR encourages the employment of Guardsmen and Reservists as they bring integrity, a global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.

Pictured: Mississippi Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program presented Doug Freeze, assistant director of Workforce Development (far left) and Dwayne Casey, associate dean of Workforce Development and Manufacturing Programs (second from right) withthe ESGR Patriot Award in recognition of the extraordinary support of Northwest Mississippi Community College employees who serve in the Mississippi Guard and Reserve. Congratulating Freeze and Casey are Jake Michel, Workforce Development trainer/facilitator (second from left) who nominated them and Daniel Shing, training director of ESGR.  (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)

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