Bringing together military veterans and the energy industry

(Post by Kelley Ferrantelli, EN Human Resources)

Visit any nuclear energy facility control room across the country and it’s highly likely you will meet a veteran. The commercial nuclear energy industry grew alongside the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program – and the relationship between the two programs has grown stronger over the years. Not only in transitioning veterans to civilian jobs in nuclear plant operations, but in the Maintenance, Engineering, Health Physics and Security departments as well. The energy industry, and nuclear energy in particular, provides an outstanding career opportunity for veterans.

Reaching out to veterans

SignageThe Center for Energy Workforce Development, in partnership with the Edison Electric Institute and six pilot electric companies, developed the Troops to Energy Jobs Initiative. This initiative is designed to establish and maintain outreach to groups and companies across the country to assist in recruiting qualified veterans.

As part of the Troops to Energy Jobs initiative, Energy Northwest is expanding our partnership with regional military bases and veterans. As more members of our workforce prepare for retirement, the need for individuals with training and skills for our careers grows. In many cases, military veterans have the training and skills that directly correlate to the skills required for our positions and are a natural fit for the energy industry. Veterans have a strong sense of pride and fit well with our culture of excellence.

This effort is an ongoing partnership which can last for several months or even a couple years for the transitioning service member.

EN staff communicate with local and regional veterans representatives, bases, transition offices and service members directly for transition opportunities. Communication topics include translating military skills to the utility industry, resume preparation, job search skills, interview preparation, job applications, mentorships and networking.

We also participate in local and regional career fairs, including the Washington state Service Member for Life Transition Summit and Hiring our Heroes career fair held last week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.

Kelley Ferrantelli and Matt Evans talk with a job seeker at the career fair.

Kelley Ferrantelli and Matt Evans talk with a job seeker at the career fair.

I was joined there by Matt Evans, EN component group manager, and Spain Abney, Operations crew manager. Evans served in the Navy as a nuclear electrician. Abney served as an electrician’s mate on aircraft carriers.

Abney told me he enjoys talking to military personnel making the transition because he can help them translate their military experience into civilian applications. He says this is particularly important when it comes to creating a resume.

Spain Abney, right, provides information to an attendee at the career fair.

Spain Abney, right, provides information to an attendee at the career fair.

Abney can also deliver the message as to why the nuclear energy industry seeks out veterans. “They have the standards. The integrity they teach in the military where they own their performance. And their background and time they spent serving our country is the attitude and aptitude we seek as an employer.”

Nearly 6,000 transitioning service members and spouses were invited to attend the hiring event at JBLM last week. We talked to a number of strong candidates for opportunities in information services, maintenance, operations, radiation protection and supply chain. In addition, we made several connections for additional outreach and partnership opportunities.

Tips for other companies

Hiring veterans into the organization is clearly a win-win. Prior to implementing your strategy, complete benchmarking for best practices for your industry and obtain recommendations on a couple of key outreach partners to start building relationships. Identify a few internal veteran employees to help champion your efforts and help you with your outreach.

To learn more about the Troops to Energy Jobs Initiative, visit: www.troopstoenergyjobs.com

To learn more about career opportunities at Energy Northwest, visit our website.

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