KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Hoping to build on the stateside success protecting Army reservists who are called to war, the Army Reserve is bringing two German-run companies into the Employer Partnership Initiative, the first foreign employers to join the program.

Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve and commander of U.S. Army Reserve Command, signed an agreement Sunday in Wiesbaden with representatives of Aerotech and TEKsystems, German subsidiaries of the U.S. company Allegis Group, Army officials said.

While the U.S. law aims to protect reservists who are called to active duty — voluntarily or involuntarily — from losing their civilian jobs, no such legal protections exist for Americans who work overseas, military officials say.

Stultz said he has been told by reservists employed with foreign companies that they "couldn’t get their job back" after their deployment. "That’s why it’s even more critical to have these partnerships with overseas employers," he said.

There are about 1,000 reservists assigned to 22 units in Germany and Italy. They fall under the 7th Civil Support Command based at Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. While there are no reservists currently employed with the partnering German companies, two soldiers were previously, but have since moved to the States, said Maj. Frank Suyak, a 7th Civil Support Command spokesman.

However, some of the command’s reservists are employed by other private companies in Europe, including BMW and Shell Oil, Suyak said. The Army hopes to continue to expand the Partnership Initiative overseas, Stultz said.

The partnership can also serve as a recruiting tool. Reservists can find out about partner companies and job openings on the Army Reserve Web site at: Representatives of the two German companies said they hope to post job vacancies on the Web site soon, Suyak said. They believe reservists are skilled in some of the career fields they employ, which include engineering and information technology, and also bring a strong work ethic, Suyak said.

There’s no enforcement clause in the partnership that the Army can fall back on to guarantee a reservist’s civilian job. But, Stultz said, it’s hoped that a partner company would more likely support soldier employees pulled away from the job for military service.

Stultz spoke to more than 100 reservists from the 7th Civil Support Command at a town hall meeting Saturday at Daenner Kaserne. He and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Schultz, Army Reserve senior enlisted adviser, are visiting reservists and their families overseas, with stops planned next in Japan and South Korea.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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