TREND — Power Companies Push Hiring Military Vets

Many power companies are focusing their hiring efforts on military veterans. According to human resources (HR) experts, it makes a lot sense—beyond pure patriotism. Vets are motivated, experienced, often well-trained, and instilled with teamwork. And there is a great need to replace the retiring baby boomers who have populated many key industry jobs.

Civilian Jobs.com in May announced its list of companies that get the employment site’s kudos for hiring military talent. Among them are several in the power industry, including:

  • Utility Con Edison, a major distribution utility serving most of New York City.
  • Electric Motor and Contracting Co., of Chesapeake, Va., which offers rebuilding services and motor repair for a variety of power generators, including nuclear generating equipment.
  • Kinsley Power Systems, of East Granby, Conn., a supplier of on-site generation for commercial, industrial, and residential customers in the Northeast since 1964.
  • Nalco Co., a global water treatment and chemistry company based in Naperville, Ill.

Civilian Jobs.com describes itself as “where America’s military connects with civilian careers, delivers a job board and job fairs plus employer advertising in our military base newspaper, Civilian Job News.”

Also, Dallas, Texas-based generating company Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings Corp., held a job fair in early June, working with RecuitMilitary.com, an online job service run by veterans for military veterans, at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, aimed at hiring military veterans into the power industry.

Kim Koonce, Luminant’s chief HR officer, said, “Luminant is a proud supporter of our military, and we appreciate the service they provide abroad and at home. Veterans play an essential role at Luminant, accounting for nearly 13% of our employee base. Our military employs a diverse, skilled workforce who can be a tremendous asset to Luminant’s team. We’re looking forward meeting new potential hires.” Luminant has more than 16,100 MW of generating capacity in Texas, with another 2,200 MW of coal-fired capacity expected to go online this year and next.

The web site Hire Military.com notes that there are new federal tax credits available to employers for hiring certain kinds of veterans (the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC). The web site, run by Lisa Rosser, points out that the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) adds a new category of veterans eligible for the WOTC.

WORC. Between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, companies can take a tax credit of $2,400 per veteran hired who was released from active duty in the five years before a hiring date during the effective 2009 and 2010 period and was unemployed for at least a month in the 12 months before being hired. Other, previously implemented WOTC rules, make companies hiring other “qualified” veterans eligible for tax breaks of up to $9,000 over a two-year period.

Sound complicated? You bet. But it may be worthwhile. For details, look at the Hire Military.com web site or the Department of Labor WOTC site.

—Kennedy Maize is MANAGING POWER’s executive editor.

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