Richmond-based Dominion plans to establish a two-year pilot program linking thousands of future job openings in the energy industry with troops leaving military service. The program, announced at a news conference Monday, will be carried out by five utilities around the country.
In announcing the pilot, Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said it supports Virginia’s goal to become a national energy leader. “ … The program is well positioned to harness the potential of our highly skilled veterans work force and transition them to civilian jobs,” Bolling said. “Troops to Energy Jobs is a great example of what the private sector can do to recruit quality, high-paying jobs and address work-force development issues.”
The program is part of the national Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit consortium of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities, and their trade associations, unions and contractors. It is initiating five pilot programs, including Dominion’s, to identify specific utility human resource needs, training and education requirements for former military personnel and ways to streamline the pathway from military to civilian energy jobs. Troops to Energy Jobs will be the first pilot tested in the field.
“Thousands of energy jobs are opening up all over the country, and they offer terrific careers to servicemen and women who have completed their military tours,” Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion, said in a statement. “There is a natural fit between the military and the energy industry. Both cultures are civic-minded and first-and-foremost safety-focused. Military personnel are also well trained and disciplined — key qualities we look for in this industry.”
A 2009 CEWD survey estimated that nearly 100,000 openings would occur in the energy industry by 2015 as engineers, technicians, line workers, plant operators, pipefitters and other workers leave energy companies through retirement and normal attrition. As many as 250,000 jobs may open up by the end of the decade. “This amounts to a huge wave moving through our company and our industry that will leave us urgently in need of finding qualified replacements,” Farrell said.
“Today we have more than 220 openings in various professional and craft jobs at Dominion,” Farrell continued. “And those numbers will grow significantly over the next five to 10 years. This is a promising opportunity for veterans … The pilot will provide us with valuable information so this initiative can benefit both future employees and the company.”
Bolling will lead a Troops to Energy Pilot Advisory Committee to work with Dominion and its partners to develop a model that can also be applied to other industries. Other committee members include: Jeff Anderson, president of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership; Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges; Paul Galanti – commissioner, Virginia Department of Veterans Services; Hank Giffin, retired Admiral, U.S. Navy; Maureen Matsen, deputy secretary of Natural Resources and chief energy adviser to the governor; and George Owens, vice president of Leadership Effectiveness at Alpha Natural Resources.
For the past two years, GI Jobs magazine has ranked Dominion — one of the country’s largest energy producers — as one of the nation’s top 100 employers for ex-military. It employs more than 1,200 veterans across 14 states, including about 500 in Virginia.
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