Serving soldiers

By Bill Rautenstrauch, For The Observer September 04, 2013 10:36 am

Alaine Encabo (center) recently became the program director for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in Oregon. Encabo has been touring the state and meeting with ESGR volunteers, including Area 6 Chair Jack Johnson of Cove (right) and committee member Bob Moody of La Grande. (Bill Rautenstrauch/For The Observer)
Alaine Encabo (center) recently became the program director for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in Oregon. Encabo has been touring the state and meeting with ESGR volunteers, including Area 6 Chair Jack Johnson of Cove (right) and committee member Bob Moody of La Grande. (Bill Rautenstrauch/For The Observer)
 

New director coordinates ESGR efforts in Oregon 

A former Army officer and engineer who grew up in Tygh Valley is the new program director for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in Oregon.

Alaine C. Encabo took the post over from long-time director Bob Elliot, who retired earlier this summer. Encabo will oversee office staff in Salem, and coordinate the work of dozens of ESGR volunteers who sit on committees throughout the state.

Encabo, who resides today in Sublimity, has been touring Oregon in recent weeks, gathering local updates and sharing ideas on how ESGR can better serve National Guard and Reserve soldiers and their civilian-side employers.

“For me, it’s important to meet the volunteers face to face and capture all the great ideas they have,” Encabo said during a stop in Union County Aug. 27. “I’m meeting as many of the volunteers as I can, and I’m also visiting Guard and Reserve units along the way.”

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a U.S. Department of Defense organization that promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve component soldiers and their civilian employers. It also assists in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.

The organization develops mutually beneficial initiatives, and recognizes outstanding employer support. It also works to increase awareness of applicable laws and policies, and helps resolve potential conflicts between employers and service members.

ESGR has about 4,900 volunteers nationwide, 84 of them in Oregon. Encabo said that these days, volunteers are highly active in the effort to find employment for National Guard and Reserve soldiers returning from overseas deployments.

“There is an actual movement at all levels to assist in helping soldiers improve their job interview skills and also help them translate their military skills into civilian jobs,” Encabo said.

On a national level, ESGR actively promotes Hero 2 Hired, a Department of Defense-supported, Yellow Ribbon Program initiative that helps Guard and Reserve service members find work.

Through the H2HJobs website, soldiers can use career exploration tools and other educational resources, and search job listings posted by military-friendly companies.

 In Oregon, ESGR volunteers work constantly to help returning Guard and Reserve members make a smooth transition to civilian life. Locally, in 2011, ESGR, Worsksource Oregon and the National Guard’s Joint Transition Assistance Program combined in an effort to help soldiers of the Third Battalion, 116th Cavalry find work after they returned from a deployment in Iraq.

The award-winning program, spearheaded by ESGR Area 6 Chair Jack Johnson, was credited with helping at least 60 3/116th soldiers find work.

Encabo, 47, was born in the Philippines and moved to the United Sates with his mother in 1976. While working on his stepfather’s farm in Tygh Valley near The Dalles, he attended Wasco County Union High School.

He later attended Oregon State University and took part in that school’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program. 

Upon his graduation in 1990, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.

He continued his education in the military, completing the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School and the Command General Staff College.

He served in the regular Army until 1996, and after his discharge continued military service with the Oregon National Guard. He rose to the rank of colonel before retiring from military service in 2011. From 2006 to 2008, he commanded the 1249th Engineer Battalion.

 After the military, Encabo put his engineering skills to work on several wind energy projects. He said he decided to apply for the job of Oregon ESGR’s program director after attending an annual conference in May in Pendleton.

“I heard Bob was going to retire, so I applied,” he said. “I thought it fit well with my goals. I wanted to have something to do with helping service members.”

One of his first orders of business was to get out and make contact with local volunteers. During his stop in Union County, Encabo met with Johnson and others from Area 6 to discuss some follow-up for the successful 2011 employment initiative.

 “ESGR’s job is a critical one. By helping the soldiers find employment, we are enhancers and force multipliers for commanders,” he said.