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National Guard, Labor Ready team up

Associated Press

TACOMA – With recruitment numbers faltering, the Army National Guard is enlisting temporary-worker service Labor Ready in its effort to find more recruits around the nation, an alliance that will increase Labor Ready access to potential day-labor workers in the Guard.

“We have an employee base that fits the demographics that they recruit from. What they need is flexible employment, and that’s exactly what we offer,” Labor Ready spokeswoman Stacey Burke said Friday at company headquarters here.

“Both Labor Ready and the ARNG are in the business of employing people and have the common focus of providing Americans with good jobs,” said Guard Col. Richard Guzzetta, a Virginia-based recruiting officer, of the alliance launched Friday. “We believe this will have a positive impact on our recruiting efforts and we are very anxious to see just how great the impact will be.”

Earlier this month, the Army National Guard reported being 24 percent below recruiting goals through May.

Labor Ready, dubbed “the McDonald’s of temporary manual labor,” links businesses with unskilled workers at more than 700 branches around the country, and dozens more in other countries.

Under the new partnership, information about Labor Ready will be posted at National Guard armories, and recruiters will also refer soldiers and their families to local Labor Ready offices.

In exchange, National Guard recruiters will regularly visit Labor Ready’s 700 offices around the country to speak to temporary employees about joining the Guard.

Labor Ready hopes to sign up National Guard members and spouses looking for temporary work while they await deployment or are just back from duty.

“Our more than 300,000 small and midsized business customers across the country have a tremendous need for quality workers,” Labor Ready President and CEO Joe Sambataro said in a news release. “National Guard members and their families are a valuable and welcome resource for them, and we are proud that we can put Guard members and our customers together for everyone’s benefit.”

Sgt. Nicholas Grossenbacher of the Washington Army National Guard was at the Labor Ready’s Renton branch south of Seattle on Friday, explaining the GI Bill and the National Guard’s time commitment of “two days a month, two weeks a year” to a small group. He said he hopes to visit the agency office at least once a month.

Grossenbacher told the Seattle Times it hasn’t been harder to find recruits, just different.

“With the war, some do shy away because they think they will be going to Iraq,” he said. “And if they sign up for six years, they will probably go somewhere. We can’t guarantee they won’t,” he said.

The alliance has its critics.

Todd Boyle, founder of Washington Truth in Recruiting, said the partnership is part of an “economic draft.”

“Many people are vulnerable and need jobs and have no choice but to go into the military,” Boyle told the Times.

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