The unemployment rate for veterans who served since 2001 dipped slightly in 2013 to 9%, the Labor Department reports. That’s down from 9.9% the year before, but well above overall civilian unemployment levels of around 7% over the same period. 246,000 recent vets are out of work, a figure that has risen by 37,000 since last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recent female vets also have a higher rate of unemployment than their male counterparts, 11.6 percent compared to 9.6.
In an effort to help get our troops back to work many corporations and industries have developed training programs, like “Troops to Energy Jobs,” to provide a path back to employment. “Troops to Energy Jobs” is a program that provides a roadmap for entry into skilled utility and engineering programs in the energy industry. Southern Company, one of the founding partners of the initiative, partnered with the U.S. Army to develop the new program which provides specialized training to service members stationed at the Fort Stewart military base. All 10 soldiers who completed the three-week training course – which included segments on safety and compliance, as well as hands-on experience with tools and equipment – received job offers from Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power.
Of the effort, Southern Company Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene says, “as a longtime supporter of the military, Southern Company is proud to enhance our recruitment efforts through this innovative partnership with the U.S. Army.”
She continues, “By bringing this specialized training to Fort Stewart, we are helping veterans successfully transition to civilian life while putting their unique skills to work for the benefit of the customers we serve.”
Southern Company believes that military service members’ commitment to safety, teamwork and excellence in their work aligns well with the core values of the utility industry. Ten percent of the Southern Company system’s 26,000 employees are veterans or serve in the National Guard or Reserve. Veterans account for 14 percent of the system’s new hires this year.
This program is not only great because it accelerates the training and employability of veterans, but it also helps fill the need for qualified energy industry employees. In fact the energy industry is driving the economic expansion in 12 of the 13 states leading growth since the recession ended.
For more information on “Troops to Energy Jobs” check out their website here.