Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) is participating in a new initiative to help connect military veterans with energy jobs. A partnership between key government agencies and leading energy trade associations, the Utility Industry Workforce Initiative is a multi-year effort dedicated to facilitating the recruitment, training and retention of exiting service members, veterans and their spouses into employment in the utility industry. While demand for natural gas continues to grow, much of the current workforce is expected to retire in the next decade, creating tremendous employment opportunity for the approximately 200,000 veterans leaving the military each year.
“Having courageously served their country in our armed services, America’s military veterans are an excellent fit for the nation’s natural gas utilities,” said AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy. “The leadership skills, focus and dedication honed through military service are ideal qualities for building a workforce focused on service and meeting critical energy needs. We are honored to assist these dedicated men and women with education and ongoing career development, and to welcome them into our member companies and communities as we work to deliver America’s energy future.”
In addition to AGA, the Initiative is supported by government agencies including the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, and the other founding members of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), including the Edison Electric Institute, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Participation will be open to other interested stakeholders, including individual military services, which may choose to join voluntarily.
The Initiative joins other energy industry efforts to connect military veterans with energy careers. Many natural gas utilities have a long history of encouraging veterans to join their workforce, and offer training and continuing education that help new employees advance, as well as support programs specifically developed for veterans and employees who may also serve in the Reserves or National Guard. Utilities throughout the nation partner with veteran and labor organizations, participate in and sponsor career fairs and employment events, and work with veteran-focused agencies and hiring firms to publicize job openings. In 2011, the CEWD, launched the Troops to Energy Jobs program, which accelerates the training and employability of veterans for key energy positions, and provides a roadmap for veterans seeking to enter the industry.