First Lady Michelle Obama has thanked and encouraged PG&E for its efforts to hire military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a letter to Tony Earley, PG&E Corporation’s chairman, CEO, and president, the First Lady talked about progress and opportunities.
“We have made strong progress working with companies like yours to tackle this challenge,” she wrote.
Still, she said, 9.4 percent of post 9/11 veterans are unemployed. And one out of three younger veterans from 18 to 24 is without a job.
Obama recently spoke at the Business Roundtable’s Quarterly Member Meeting, where she talked about the Joining Forces Initiative that she created with Jill Biden. PG&E is a member of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies.
“These men and women are some of the most intelligent, adaptable, and effective people that you will ever meet, and they are exactly the kind of employees to help your business compete in today’s global marketplace,” she said.
Hiring veterans has become an important cause for Earley, a Navy veteran who joined PG&E in 2011. And it comes at a crucial time as there is a growing need for skilled workers in the utility sector for rebuilding infrastructure and replacing retiring employees.
“We appreciate that the First Lady has taken an interest in promoting career opportunities for new veterans,” Earley said in response to the letter. “PG&E has committed to supporting the Joining Forces Initiative by increasing our veterans hiring and placement program by 10 percent this year. We have a rich tradition of supporting veterans, and believe in fostering their success as one way to build the energy workforce of the future.”
PG&E was recently named as one of the nation’s best companies for supporting veteran-owned businesses. Through programs such as PowerPathway, PG&E is training veterans. And Earley was joined by Gen. Jim Jones and Thomas R. Kuhn of the Edison Electric Institute in writing a commentary on the need to hire veterans.