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Most served in the Middle East, risking their lives for America, and ensuring an uninterrupted energy supply. They believe in the greatness of America.
Their experiences in the military them ideal employees for America’s oil-and-gas industry. Many companies have seen the value veterans bring to their organization and are actively recruiting veterans.
The U.S. oil-and-gas industry has added millions of jobs in the past few years and expects to add more and more—especially with the new energy-friendly Republican-controlled Congress. Just the Keystone pipeline—which is now likely to be built—will employ thousands. Increased access to reserves on federal lands will demand more personnel. But finding potential hires that fit the needs of the energy industry in the general labor pool is difficult as they lack discipline, the ability to work in a team and, often, can’t pass a drug test. Here the fit for the veteran becomes obvious.
“The number one bottleneck to the oil-and-gas industry,” according to Steve Yen, founder and CEO of Valor Services, a two-year-old professional services firm that specializes in energy-industry career opportunities for veterans, “is having enough quality people to execute business at today’s levels—let alone projected growth.” Yen, a former Army Captain, Ranger, and Bronze Star recipient, who served as an infantry officer in Iraq in ‘06, ‘07, and ‘08, sees veterans as a misunderstood segment of the workforce. Through Valor Services, he wants to champion his generation of veterans with the unique mission of optimizing returning veterans’ transition from the military to the oil-and-gas industry.
Veterans are accustomed to working in a team on the battlefield—which translates well to the oilfield. They’ve focused on safety and understand the need for procedure. They respect chain of command. Both the military and the energy industry have a large number of “boots on the ground” and those individuals need to be trustworthy and responsible.
Obvious parallels exist. Many military experiences translate well to roles in safety and environmental work. Enlisted service members make excellent field personnel where technical and mechanical skills are valued and team skills and project management are required. Welders and heavy equipment operators, for example, are always needed. But other applications need skills honed in the military. Officers make high-quality professionals and management team members. Combat arms and special-operations experiences translate into strong leadership and resiliency, valuable characteristics that are hard to develop.
Because the energy industry has such immediate needs, it doesn’t generally offer apprenticeship programs. Here vocational and technical schools, such as San Juan College’s (SJC) School of Energy in Farmington, NM, fill the need. Employers often co-sponsor the education and/or partnerships are can be formed with veteran-advocacy groups.
Apache Corporation actively targets veterans to fill HR needs. In 2014, military veterans made up 12 percent of Apache’s new hires in the U.S. Its career page highlights the veterans and boasts: “When it comes to core values, Apache and the military fit like a well-pressed uniform.” Apache often participates in career days held at military bases near their operations. As result, appropriate personnel have jobs waiting for them when they return to civilian life.
Yen believes, that as more companies see the correlation between a military background and energy industry needs, career opportunities for those who’ve served will grow.
What a powerful way to thank our veterans for their sacrifice that, in part, kept the necessary fuel flowing. Hire them to make America energy-secure.
(A version of this content was originally published on Breitbart.com)