It was a great morning for Carol Eggert. She was attending, and was one of the hosts, at a support ceremony to honor Comcast’s veterans, National Guard and Reserve employees.
Comcast wants to make the community aware of the sacrifices these individuals make to serve and highlight the skills and talents they learn in the military that make them excellent employees for the telecommunications provider, as well as other employers.
Having already hired 6,000 veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses since 2015, Comcast is on track to raise that total to 10,000 by the end of this year. About 300 of those were hired in its Midwest region, which includes Michigan, Indiana and a section of Kentucky. In total, 14 percent of Comcast’s employees are veterans, National Guard and Reserve members or military spouses.
“We won’t stop there,” says Eggert, a retired brigadier general and senior vice president, military and veteran affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal. “We want to be the employer of choice for the military.”
Eggert was hired to help make sure the needs of veterans are met. She leads an eight-person team and provides strategic leadership to all aspects of the company’s programs and outreach to the military and veteran community.
“It is a challenge to serve – both for the employee and employer,” she says.
For example, when a reservist is deployed, the employer needs to find a way to cover that position. Meeting that challenge is baked into Comcast’s plans.
Employees also have it tough. They leave families, miss school plays, Little League games, birthdays and often face a cut in pay, since the military paycheck is usually much smaller than the company’s.
Comcast works to solve that problem, Eggert says. They support for the families while the reservist is deployed and make up the difference in pay and benefits.
“They are supporting the security of our nation and should not have to worry about those things,” Eggert says.
Comcast also provides:
- 15 days annual paid time off for National Guard and Reserve training
- Dedicated Military Concierge Service Team to help employees transition between their military and Comcast career
- 5,500-member Veterans Network Employee Resource Group
While the paid time off, help with the transition and resource groups are great, small “mixers” like the one Comcast held the night before the support ceremony offers a secure place where veterans, National Guard and Reserve employees can get together and share stories and concerns.
“There is nothing like having your battle buddy or wing man beside you,” says Eggert.
She has some experience along those lines.
Eggert joined the army at age 17 so she could play the French horn in the army band and earn enough money to buy one. Originally planning a short stay in the military, she says she acquired a “sense of service.”
She stayed in the army for 34 years, went to college and served in a variety of command and staff positions and completed numerous overseas deployments, including a 15-month combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Chief of the Women’s Initiatives Division. She was also senior liaison to the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, and received numerous military awards and commendations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.
Eggert completed her military career in 2014 as the assistant adjutant general for the Pennsylvania National Guard and the deputy commandant for the Army War College.
In a career that spans moving from private to brigadier general, there’s no question she knows the ups and downs of military life and why she is committed to helping the veterans, National Guard and Reserve employees and their spouses use their talents.
Veterans bring strong skills, are committed to the mission, teamwork and collaborative thinking. They are also used to working in ever-changing and diverse environments and in high-pressure situations.
An estimated 1 million men and women are expected to leave the military and transition to the civilian workforce in the next four years, according to Comcast. Without effective employment assistance, many of these former military members could join the ranks of more than 570,000 unemployed veterans.
Eggert encourages other companies to hire more veterans, calling those that do “patriots.”