National Grid was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Defense as an industry partner for its SkillBridge program. DOD SkillBridge provides career development opportunities to service members approaching the end of their military commitment. Active duty service members can apply to spend the last six months of their commitment as an intern, bridging the gap between the end of their service and the beginning of their civilian careers.
“We have a long, proud history of hiring veterans of the U.S. armed forces,” said Celeste Schneider, National Grid’s chief people officer for New York. “DOD SkillBridge provides us with a new on-ramp for recruitment with exciting career opportunities for service members nearing their discharge date that maximize their military training and experience.”
Service members with at least six months of service remaining before their discharge can approach their unit commander about participating in a DOD SkillBridge internship. National Grid interns will receive rigorous hands-on training and work alongside our employees in the field. The interns retain their military pay and benefits, and all costs are covered by DOD SkillBridge.
National Grid has made an additional commitment to DOD SkillBridge interns. Those interns who meet company performance standards during their placement will be offered employment with National Grid upon their honorary discharge from the armed forces.
“We want the very best employees working for National Grid and DOD SkillBridge opens another door to access the world’s most highly-trained and motivated workforce – the U.S. armed forces.” Schneider said.
Now a senior field safety supervisor for National Grid, Jason Uhlig wished DOD SkillBridge existed when he began his transition from active duty with the U.S. Army. He spent his free time during the final few months of his active-duty service building resumes, applying for education benefits and exploring and applying for jobs.
“Having an opportunity to transition towards a more secure career path would have been ideal,” he said. Uhlig, currently a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, has spent more than 20 years in the Army.
Uhlig, who is one of National Grid’s leads for DOD SkillBridge, says that transitioning to civilian life is often difficult for active-duty service members and the program relieves some of the pressure of finding a job and preparing for life after the military.
“Having the opportunity that DOD SkillBridge affords to transitioning service members is a once in a lifetime chance,” he said. “Service members can then focus on securing a rewarding career, supporting their family and putting to work their valuable service leadership and technical experience.”
National Grid currently offers two positions through DOD SkillBridge:
- Civil and Substation Supervisor (Syracuse)
- Customer Meter Service Supervisor (Albany)
The company plans to offer additional opportunities in New York and Massachusetts.
National Grid employs approximately 700 veterans, as well about 100 employees who are either active military reservists or members of National Guard units. Its Veterans Employee Resource Group provides learning and career development opportunities, and support to more than 600 employees of the company. Uhlig, who is the group’s co-chair, said veterans working for National Grid have found similarities between the company hierarchy and military hierarchies.
“The utility industry has many parallels to the military,” he said. “It is a 24/7 operational environment that abides by many bodies, laws and operating standards. We have rigorous performance and values-based review processes for our employees. And, the same leadership, technical and strategic principles of working for National Grid, or a regulated energy delivery company, apply as they would in a military career.”