Today, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that Comcast NBCUniversal was among the 15 recipients of the 2017 Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) "Freedom Award," the highest honor the Department of Defense awards to employers for support of their National Guard and Reserve employees.

Receiving this recognition is humbling for us because it is truly a grassroots-level award. Nominations of employers can only be made by Guard and Reserve employees or a family member acting on their behalf, and in 2017, Comcast NBCUniversal received more than 30 such nominations.

For this year’s award, ESGR received nominations for 2,575 different employers in three categories: small employer, large employer and the public sector. From there, ESGR committees in all 50 states, Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia review nominations and submit recommendations that advance to a list of 30 Finalists, which was announced in March. A national selection board comprised of senior Department of Defense officials, business leaders and prior awardees then select up to 15 employers to receive the Secretary’s prestigious award.

Freedom Award 2017   

So far in 2017 alone, Comcast NBCUniversal has held nearly a dozen ESGR Statement of Support ceremonies at company locations across the country. These events have partnered Comcast leaders with local military and community partners in a public pledge to recognize and support the company’s Guard and Reserve employees and their families. Comcast NBCUniversal committed to 10,000 military hires, including members of the Guard and Reserve, by the end of this year, and we are on track to meet that goal.

However, this commitment to the military community is about more than just hiring. It’s about making sure these military employees have a professional environment that allows them to thrive both in their civilian career and their military career.

We are proud to offer an unmatched suite of benefits in order to make sure this environment exists across the company, including annual paid time off for military training for Guard and Reserve employees, along with a pay differential and continued benefits when they are called to full time military service for extended training or deployments. Our Military Concierge service makes it easy for our employees, managers, and military families to balance their civilian and military commitments.

Congratulations to all of the companies that were recognized, and we look forward to seeing you during the award ceremony with Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon on August 25th.