Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), today introduced the Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2018 to help veterans gain the training and credentials necessary to secure good-paying jobs in the low- and zero-carbon emissions energy industry. The senators’ bipartisan legislation will help ease the transition to civilian life for servicemembers and strengthen the economy by connecting employers in fast-growing solar, wind, nuclear, and cyber energy industries with talented, highly-skilled veterans who possess the needed training and credentials to succeed.
“For years, we’ve worked to ensure veterans are equipped to enter the clean energy industry, especially in Colorado,” Bennet said. “This bipartisan bill will create a pathway so our veterans, who have put their lives on the line for our country, have the necessary skills and training to compete in our 21st century economy. We’re encouraged by the administration’s commitment to prioritize this legislation.”
During a Senate committee hearing in March, Energy Secretary Rick Perry committed to work on advancing this pro-veterans legislation.
As a leader on this issue, Bennet has previously worked to create opportunities for servicemembers to transition to jobs in the clean energy and electric grid and cyber security industries.
The bipartisan Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2018 would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the “Energy Ready Vets Program” to provide veterans with training and credentials to secure good-paying jobs in the low-carbon and zero-carbon emissions sectors of the energy industry, such as wind, solar, nuclear, and cyber energy fields. The program would be led by an administrator with military experience and offer veterans and members of the Armed Forces six-month internships to gain hands-on training and skills. It would establish a labeling program that recognizes companies that are hiring graduates of these programs in order to encourage them to hire veterans.
The U.S. military has been a leader in developing low-carbon emission energy technology. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have set a goal, which the Navy has already achieved, of developing one gigawatt of renewable energy to power their installations by 2025–enough to power about 700,000 U.S. homes. As a result, many servicemembers and veterans already have the technical skills that make them great fits for the wind and solar industries, both of which employ veterans at higher rates than the rest of our economy. According to DOE, Veterans make up 11.5% and 11.1% of the wind and solar workforces respectively. Additionally, low-carbon and zero-carbon emissions energy has experienced exponential growth in recent years; wind and solar energy are two of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Today, there are more than 800,000 people working in the renewable energy sector across the country.