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-  Oregon National Guard joins forces with Hillsboro semiconductor chip maker to allow veterans to gain, keep jobs

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini came to Hillsboro last Wednesday, putting pen to paper to sign a memorandum pledging the company’s continued support for military veterans, including those in the National Guard and Reserve.

The signing ceremony took place at Intel’s Jones Farm Conference Center. Otellini was joined by Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees, the adjutant general of the Oregon National Guard, and James Rebholz, national chairman of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, an operational department of the defense committee.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Intel CEO Paul Otellini (right) and James Rebholz of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve sign a statement Wednesday pledging Intel's continued commitment to military veterans.

Intel officials insist their support for veterans is anything but ceremonial, however. Approximately 4,300 of the company’s employees based in the United States are veterans, including 569 who were hired in 2012.

One is Jim Butler, 46, a process engineering technician who works to maintain the quality of the company’s products. He came to work for Intel in 1994, right after a six-year stint in the U.S. Navy. He began at Intel’s first plant in Aloha, and now works on the company’s Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro.

“Intel has been great to work for. They considered my military experience to be the equivalent of a college degree, which other employers weren’t willing to do,” said Butler.

In 2011, Butler joined the Oregon Air National Guard. He currently serves as a staff sergeant 15 days a year and one weekend a month at the Guard’s airbase near Portland International Airport.

His duties include filing flight plans for all military aircraft departing the base, making appropriate plans for military aircraft arriving at the base, helping to maintain the safety of the airfield, supporting visiting dignitaries and briefing air crews on weather and wildlife issues that might affect their missions.

“I missed the camaraderie of the military. If you’ve never been in the military, it’s hard to understand it,” Butler said of his decision to go back into the service.

Managing both jobs can be difficult. Butler said it would not be possible without the support of his manager at Intel, who allows him to modify his work shifts to complete his work at the base on drill weekends. Intel also matches the difference between his company and military pay so Butler does not suffer any financial loss while serving his country.

Originally from College Station, Texas, Butler, his wife and their two children now live near the Hillsboro Airport. Butler spends most of his free time supporting veterans’ activities in the local area, including running an online radio station focused on communicating benefits and opportunities to veterans, as well as providing entertainment for troops here and abroad.

He also works with a veterans’ group at Intel to help homeless and other struggling vets.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD -  Intel employee Jim Butler stands next to a recreation of the kind of clean room where he began work almost 20 years ago. It is in the Conference Center on the company's Jones Farm campus.

“There are a lot of veterans who need help. Intel gives me and the other veterans who work there a chance to make a difference in the community,” Butler said.

The memorandum signed by Otellini says Intel recognizes and enforces the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which was enacted in 1994 to protect the civilian employment of non-full-time military service members called to active duty. If Butler is ever deployed for an extended period of time, the law guarantees a job for him at Intel when he returns.

“It might not be the same job, but it’s a job. That’s good to know,” Butler said.

Intel’s commitment to military employees goes far beyond the requirements of the law, however. Among other outreach efforts, the company employs a full-time military staffing recruiter to oversee a program that focuses on hiring U.S. military veterans. The company also has a full-time Veterans Program manager dedicated to developing internal and external programs for veterans. They include an Intel-sponsored employee group, American Veterans at Intel, which supports and provides volunteer opportunities for employees and their families.

The memorandum notes that Intel benefits from having veterans among its employees, praising the values, leadership and unique skills they bring to the work force.

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