U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have 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 fast-growing sectors of the low- and zero-carbon emissions energy industry.
The Senators’ bipartisan legislation will help ease the transition back to civilian life for service members and strengthen the economy by connecting employers in fast-growing wind, solar, nuclear, and cyber energy industries with talented, highly-skilled veterans who possess the needed training and credentials to succeed.
“I am proud to partner with Senators Graham and Bennet on this bipartisan legislation to help service members transition back to civilian life and find good-paying jobs in clean, renewable energy,” said Senator Duckworth. “Our bill will provide service members and veterans with the training they need to work in some of our nation’s fastest-growing industries, while also helping clean energy companies – which already employ veterans at high rates across the country – find highly-skilled and dedicated workers as they experience exponential growth and provide more of our nation’s energy supply.”
Duckworth received a commitment from Energy Secretary Rick Perry during a Senate committee hearing in March to work on advancing this pro-veterans legislation.
“For years, we’ve worked to ensure veterans are equipped to enter the clean energy industry, especially in Colorado,” said Senator Bennet. “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.”
The bipartisan Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2018 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 also establish a labeling program that recognizes companies that are hiring graduates of these programs 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 service members 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 the Department of Energy, Veterans make up 11.5% and 11.1% of the wind and solar workforces, respectively.
Low-carbon and zero-carbon emissions energy has also 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 and there are nearly 5,000 wind and solar jobs in Illinois – a number that is expected to grow thanks to Illinois’s clean energy targets under the Future Energy Jobs Act, which became law in Illinois in 2016.