Co-ops see veterans as key players in next generation workforce

This summer, Serve our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide initiative to honor and hire military veterans and their spouses, celebrated a major milestone when former Air Force Captain Jeremiah Sloan became the first veteran officially hired through the program.

This summer, Serve our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide initiative to honor and hire military veterans and their spouses, celebrated a major milestone when former Air Force Captain Jeremiah Sloan became the first veteran officially hired through the program.

America’s electric cooperatives have long enjoyed a strong relationship with the nation’s armed forces. Most military bases are located in rural areas, and the power ­systems at some bases are operated by electric cooperatives. A dispropor­tionately large percentage of our nation’s troops – some estimates suggest as high as 40 percent – come from rural America.

Last year, America’s electric cooperatives began a new chapter in their long history of support for the military with the launch of Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide initiative to honor and hire military veterans and their spouses. The program was developed to help electric cooperatives address a generational turnover in its workforce. Over the next five years, NRECA ­estimates electric co-ops will need to hire approximately 15,000 new employees to replace retiring baby boomers.

In addition to the technical skills these jobs require, electric cooperative employees must be hard-working, ­disciplined, loyal, safety-conscious and

team-oriented — qualities that are common among military veterans.

This summer, Serve our Co-ops; Serve Our Country celebrated a major milestone when former Air Force Captain Jeremiah Sloan became the first veteran officially hired through the program. Sloan landed his new job as an electrical engineer at Craighead Electric Cooperative in Jonesboro, Ark.

“I grew up in northeast Arkansas,” Sloan said. “My family is a long line of farmers, and they’re actually on Craighead Electric’s lines. The whole reason my wife and I decided to separate from the Air Force was to return home and be close to family.”

To learn more about the program and career oppor­tunities for veterans at electric cooperatives, visit www.ServeVets.coop.

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