Employers and educators tour Minnesota's National Guard

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota were able to learn more about the 148th Fighter Wing's Block 50 F-16's while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at the 148 Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.  The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota were able to learn more about the 148th Fighter Wing's Block 50 F-16's while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota were able to learn more about the 148th Fighter Wing's Block 50 F-16's while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at the 148 Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.  The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota were able to learn more about the 148th Fighter Wing's Block 50 F-16's while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota pose for a group shot at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event.  The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota pose for a group shot at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. while participating in an Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event. The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota board a C-130 "Hercules" at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth Minn. to fly to Camp Ripley while participating in a Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event.  The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

Employers and educators from central and northern Minnesota board a C-130 "Hercules" at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth Minn. to fly to Camp Ripley while participating in a Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event. The goal of this ESGR event was to provide employers and educators perspective on the Minnesota National Guard's mission. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka / Released)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing hosted 50 northland employers and educators on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 as part of a joint effort by the Minnesota National Guard to showcase the diverse capabilities and careers within the Guard.

The event began at the 148th Fighter Wing, with a Mission Briefing followed by an F-16 familiarization. From Duluth, the group flew south aboard a C-130 "Hercules" military cargo aircraft from the 133rd Airlift Wing to Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota. While at Camp Ripley, employers and educators toured facilities and learned of the vast environmental efforts to support military training missions while simultaneously mitigating their impact on natural resources.

According to 148th Fighter Wing Executive Officer Maj. Audra Flanagan, the tour provided area educators with insight into what their students could achieve should they choose to enlist in the Minnesota National Guard.

Licensed Guidance Counselor from Two Harbors High School, Kerri Persons stated that "some of my students are looking for an opportunity to earn money toward their education and serve their country, but desire to stay in the northland. There is a great benefit knowing that a student could enlist with the 148th Fighter Wing, where they could work, learn, and serve at a top-notch facility while staying connected to the people in the area that are important to them."

Minnesota offers generous tuition reimbursement programs of up to $12,000 annually to National Guard members which compliments the Montgomery GI Bill of $356 per month while students go to college full time.

The tour also served as a way of showing employers what their Servicemembers do during their time away from work.

"National Guard units such as the 148th Fighter Wing depend on the support of employers and educators to accomplish our federal and state mission" said Flanagan. "We ask our full time and part time force to support overseas deployments, state active duty missions such as Flood and Forest Fire Relief, and participate in demanding training exercises. We could not be successful without the support of our member's civilian employers and higher education providers."

For more information on how Servicemembers can recognize the support of their civilian employers, visit http://www.esgr.mil/Service-Members-Family/Nominate-your-Employer.aspx.