Dominion has announced a pilot program to begin linking thousands of future job openings in the energy industry with troops leaving military service. The pilot will last approximately two years and will be carried out by five utilities around the United States.
The program, "Troops to Energy Jobs," is part of the national Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and is designed to establish an ongoing process of outreach, recruiting, education and training to create a pathway for military personnel to transition from the service into civilian careers in the energy field. The pilot program was announced at a news conference in Richmond.
This program is part of an effort to promote energy careers to all segments of the population, including young students still in high school, those who have served in the military, and others looking for challenging jobs with good pay. The Troops to Energy Jobs initiative will be the first pilot to be tested in the field.
The Washington, D.C.-based CEWD is a non-profit consortium of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities, their trade associations, unions and contractors. Five pilot programs, including Dominion's, are being initiated 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.
"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," said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion. "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."
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who serves as Virginia's Chief Jobs Creation Officer under Governor Bob McDonnell, said Virginia applauds Troops to Energy Jobs as a private-sector initiative that looks to the future to ensure that Virginia creates and maintains a strong energy sector.
"Governor McDonnell and I have put forth a comprehensive proposal to make Virginia the East Coast's energy capital, develop traditional and alternative energy resources, enhance our national energy security and create thousands of new jobs for Virginians," Bolling said. "The Troops to Energy Jobs program supports our goal of establishing Virginia as a national energy leader. With 800,000 veterans who call Virginia home and thousands of military veterans entering the civilian work force every year, the program is well positioned to harness the potential of our highly skilled veterans work force and transition them to civilian jobs. 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. I am delighted to help lead the advisory committee for this program and proud to support Dominion in this new, innovative approach to work force training."
A survey by the CEWD in 2009 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. "The pool of men and women leaving the military is the perfect place to find a great number of them."
Bolling said he established a Troops to Energy Pilot Advisory Committee to work with Dominion and its partners in assessing what needs to be done to further the growth of energy jobs, and to develop a model or template that can also be applied to other industries. The members include Bolling and:
- 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, United States Navy;
- Maureen Matsen – deputy secretary of Natural Resources and chief energy advisor to the Governor; and
- George Owens – vice president of Leadership Effectiveness at Alpha Natural Resources.
Flanked by veterans already working for the company, Farrell said Dominion began specifically looking to the military for potential new hires a few years ago as the full scope of the company's future personnel needs became clear.
"Today we have more than 220 openings in various professional and craft jobs at Dominion," Farrell said. "And those numbers will grow significantly over the next five to 10 years. This is a promising opportunity for veterans – and one near and dear to me personally. The pilot will provide us with valuable information so this initiative can benefit both future employees and the company."
Utilities are consistently ranked among the top employers in the country. Dominion was recently listed among the world's most admired companies by Fortune magazine, and for the past two years has been ranked by GI Jobs magazine as one of nation's top 100 employers for ex-military.
The company employs more than 1,200 veterans across 14 states, including about 500 in Virginia. It has a human resources webpage at http://www.dom.com/careers/military-and-veterans.jsp that is specifically dedicated to recruiting current and former military personnel for careers at Dominion.