Collaboration will lead to action plan to put returning vets in energy industry jobs
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a partnership with industry leaders from five electric and gas utilities to develop a plan that places veterans returning back home in jobs in the utility industry. The plan supports objectives that emerged from the New York State Veterans and Military Families Summit held in March, which focused on the state's efforts to support veterans and the military community.
"New York's veterans have made tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation, and by expanding professional opportunities for them at home we can help to ease their transition back to civilian life and empower them for years to come," Cuomo said. "This partnership will connect veterans looking for employment with the technical skills and expertise to succeed and ultimately place them in positions in the energy sector. Our veterans have served us admirably and selflessly - and this is another way that we can serve them at home."
The state's utilities will designate one or more colleges as partners in providing veterans with educational opportunities in preparation for technical energy industry jobs. The New York State Division of Veteran's Affairs will be the lead agency for communications and outreach to veterans and will facilitate available employment opportunities. Monitoring and reporting on consortium members' progress in achieving action plan milestones will be run by the Department of Public Service.
The program follows a model set forth in the federal Troops-To-Energy Jobs program established by the Center for Energy Workforce Development, a national nonprofit organization for identifying job opportunities in the energy sector for veterans. The New York plan will incorporate specific, measurable objectives, and an aggressive schedule for the implementation of the NYS-TEJ program.
The New York Power Authority hosted the action-plan kickoff meeting for the NYS-TEJ program in White Plains on Wednesday. In addition to state agencies, the NYS TEJ consortium includes Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Consolidated Edison, Iberdrola USA, National Grid, and PSEG Long Island. Members have committed to actively coordinate with the CEWD to ensure the New York action plan is consistent with the federal TEJ program.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "The New York Power Authority is proud to be a catalyst in working with other state agencies and utilities to leverage job opportunities in the energy industry for maximum benefit to returning-home veterans. Providing good, quality jobs is one significant way we can thank our troops and their families for their service to our country, and we're glad to be supporting Gov. Cuomo in this worthy endeavor."
PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman said, "The Troops-to-Energy Jobs program reflects the appreciation of all us for the service that our returning vets have undertaken on behalf of every American. Gov. Cuomo's leadership, the Department of Public Service and other state agencies are proud to be applying this program in New York state and supporting veterans in their transition to civilian life."
Director of the State Division of Veterans Affairs Eric Hesse said, "Troops to Energy Jobs, a program Gov. Cuomo announced during his Veterans Summit, demonstrates his commitment to the veterans of New York. His leadership in developing these relationships between state agencies, allowing us to take on ambitious projects like Troops to Energy, is unmatched. At a time when most of the news around veterans' issues is negative, Gov. Cuomo leads the way in improving the lives of New York veterans."
State Sen. George Maziarz, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, said, "Helping connect veterans with new career opportunities is our duty as Americans and as New Yorkers. The men and women of our military have done great things for our country, and setting them up for success as they transition back to civilian life is something we can do to recognize their special contributions."
Ken Daly, president of National Grid in New York, said, "National Grid, along with other electric and gas companies, 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. By hiring veterans into the company, we are ensuring the continued production and delivery of safe, reliable power to New York 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."