Green Energy Jobs Could Cut Veteran Unemployment

The search for employment has been a difficult one for many Veterans.  The Veteran unemployment rate in October was 12.1 percent, compared with 9 percent for the U.S. population overall. For veterans ages 18 to 24, that rate was 30.4 percent.

Some noteworthy initiatives, however, have been of benefit to former service members seeking jobs in the green-energy industry.

One such initiative is a pilot program launched by five of the nation’s largest energy providers, called Troops to Energy Jobs. This program provides training and credentials to military Veterans, as well as college credit for their military training and experience.

Another Denver-based nonprofit program, Veterans Green Jobs, has trained or placed 370 veterans in the last four years.

One Ohio-based solar power company, Tipping Point Renewable Energy, is hiring only military Veterans for its installment crews.  The idea for Tipping Point’s Solar by Soldiers program, started this summer, was inspired in part by chief technical officer Darin Hadinger’s father, a Vietnam War Veteran.

The renewable energy industry is growing fast — solar and wind energy have grown more than tenfold in the last decade — and military Veterans often make good fits for green jobs. Green sector jobs, such as manufacturing or maintenance of wind turbines or solar arrays, require skills similar to those that service members learn in the military, according to Bill Scott of Bradley-Morris Inc., the largest military-focused recruiting firm in theUnited States. Veterans generally get technical training that is lacking in the civilian workforce, he said.

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