National Initiative Connects Veterans to Electric Co-ops
As members of the Baby Boomer generation continue to reach retirement age, an estimated 14,400 jobs at electric cooperatives across the country are expected to become available in the next five to seven years. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national service organization for America’s electric cooperative network, sees that as an opportunity for our nation’s 22 million military veterans.
Approximately 40 percent of all military recruits are from rural communities, although less than 30 percent of them return to rural America after service, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s more, the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans is 16.2 percent, compared with the national average of 5 percent.
NRECA’s “Serve our Co-ops, Serve our Country” campaign is aiding electric cooperatives in attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans. The program also seeks to honor and care for the veterans who live in our local communities by reinforcing co-op support and involvement with local veteran communities.
“We want to expand our co-op pipeline with great talent to fill the many jobs that will be opening up,” says Michelle Rostom, NRECA’s veteran initiative program director. “In addition to the diverse technical talents and trainability our veterans bring to co-ops, there are many parallels between military culture and electric cooperative culture, including mission, teamwork, and commitment to community.”