Matching military skills to civilian occupations 

Minnesota National Guard, Governor Mark Dayton recognize Cargill with Yellow Ribbon status 

By Amanda Halbersma July 11, 2014

Returning from Afghanistan at the end of his 28-year military career, Colonel Eric Ahlness found that deployment into the civilian workforce required thoughtful planning. Some of his contemporaries did not do well with the transition, he said, because they were unable to translate their military skills into civilian job skills, or just got a late start on the search.

His job exploration was helped along by companies like Cargill, which helps former members of the military with mentoring and networking programs.

To recognize Cargill’s formalized efforts to reach candidates like Ahlness, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed Cargill a “Yellow Ribbon” company during a ceremony on July 9, 2014. Other distinguished guests, including Major General Richard Nash, Adjutant General for the State of Minnesota, also were welcomed by Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan and other company representatives.

The National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon program honors companies with a demonstrated, public business commitment to supporting members of the military and veterans.

“Within the veteran and military community, being a Yellow Ribbon company shows a form of appreciation that really goes a long way,” said Ahlness, now Cargill’s North American Diversity and Business Impact Lead.

As part of the event, Cargill highlighted some of the programs that helped it achieve Yellow Ribbon status. For example, Cargill works with American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce.

Company leaders also reaffirmed Cargill’s commitment to employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve by renewing a corporate statement of support to those organizations. In doing this, the company was officially recognized by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a U.S. Department of Defense agency that seeks to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.