America’s electric co-ops promote nationwide veterans hiring initiative

Photo of SoldierFaced with the challenge of filling 15,000 jobs over the next five to seven years, America’s electric ­cooperatives want to do more than simply thank ­veterans for their ­service—they want to offer them a job.

“Our military veterans deserve our unending gratitude for their service to our country,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “Vets possess many of the qualities sought by electric co-ops, ­including a deep commitment to service and an uncom­promising work ethic. More than 200,000 service members tran­sition out of the military to civilian life each year, and we’d like to tap into that ­talent to help fill the thousands of co-op jobs opening up.”

To achieve this goal, NRECA launched Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide program to ­provide veterans, service members and military spouses with the opportunity to continue their mission of service by joining the ranks of America’s electric co-ops.

Kim Leftwich, a 25-year Air Force veteran, who took the helm of Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Ill., in 2015, notes that more than 40 ­percent of military recruits come from rural America. “Ordinarily,” Leftwich says, “we simply think about entry level positions when considering veterans. But don’t overlook the senior enlisted or long-term ­officers that are ­exiting the service as they are a rich source of talented and ­motivated ­individuals—and, they already embody the cooperative principles of Service and Community. They have leadership capacity, discipline. There isn’t an area where they can’t help you. We need to bring them home and find them jobs.”

For more information on Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, visit