Troops to Energy Jobs program helps transition military veterans into energy workforce
In recognition of Veteran's Day, National Grid is highlighting its programs to attract and retain veteran employees. Troops To Energy Jobs is an initiative in which National Grid has partnered with five other energy companies across the country, and the Center for Energy Workforce Development, to develop an accelerated process for bringing military veterans into the energy industry workforce nationwide and locally across New York state.
"National Grid, along with other electric and gas industries, recognizes that veterans have spent their military careers protecting national security and are, among many things, battle-tested, self-motivated and safety-conscious - traits that translate well into a second career in the utility industry," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid in New York. "By hiring veterans into the industry, we are ensuring the continued production and delivery of safe, reliable power to American homes and businesses, and that service members are continuing to protect national security as they work to deliver a product that fuels our lives and powers our economy."
In recent years National Grid has taken several steps to improve its opportunity for veteran outreach, including creating a dedicated veterans outreach specialist role within the company. This integrated specialist is responsible for veteran recruiting efforts and assists veterans as they transition into civilian positions within the energy field.
"Hiring veterans is a smart business decision. But, beyond that, it's about pride and opportunity," said Steven Spaeth, veterans outreach specialist for National Grid, and a veteran himself. "Our industry has a role to play that is bigger than just hiring: We can help to pave the way for transitioning veterans into civilian jobs. Recognizing and supporting veterans once they are hired is critical to achieving a successful transition as we move our dedicated service members from the front lines to the power lines."
National Grid also has its own Veteran's Employee Resource Group to help implement the Troops to Energy Jobs national template in all its service territories. This group of 185 members is strongly involved with recruitment and outreach efforts that encompass all of National Grid's jurisdictions. The company's VERG provides ongoing support to veteran employees, assists the human resources department by reviewing resumes for candidates who are veterans, and maintains a visible presence in local communities, including attending career fairs to recruit other veterans.
National Grid works with the Department of Labor in New York as well as at local One-Stops, in its efforts to recruit veterans. The company also works closely with veterans organizations such as the Office of Veterans Affairs, directing candidates to the Troops to Energy Jobs website for assistance in translating military skills to those needed in energy jobs. The company will often tweet job openings and veteran-themed resources as part of its effort to reach as many veterans in as many different ways as possible.
Veteran Derek Smith joined National Grid earlier this year after nearly 30 years of service in the Marine Corps - including four deployments - and after having achieved the rank of sergeant major.
"To me, Veterans day should be the most important day to us as Americans. It is a day for us to reflect and appreciate the service of our veterans past and present who have left their families behind to fight on foreign soil to protect the very freedom that we enjoy today," he said. "I am forever grateful for their sacrifice and for giving me an opportunity to serve and pass on that priceless torch of freedom to the next generation of warriors."
National Grid currently employs more than 570 veterans and more than 100 reservists across its jurisdictions. Veterans interested in pursuing a career in energy can find out more at www.troopstoenergyjobs.com.