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Posted on November 8, 2013

As Nation Honors Veterans, PG&E Works to Hire, Support Former Military Personnel

By Tony Khing

Veteran and PG&E employee Erick Varela was recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama during a White House event in June. (Currents Archive Photo.)

America honors its veterans on Monday (Nov. 11). Throughout the year, PG&E has committed to hire more veterans, who bring strong skills to the utility industry, and to support those working at the company.

That support includes sponsoring an upcoming Boots to Business workforce development event next week in San Francisco and working with the rapidly growing Veterans Employee Resource Group. Also, Tony Earley, PG&E’s chairman, CEO and president, and a U.S. Navy veteran, will appear on a television show airing this weekend to talk about the importance of hiring former military personnel.

“PG&E’s support for veterans — both in our workforce and our communities — is rooted in our long history,” Earley said. “Recently we’ve stepped up efforts to recruit and retain veterans and help them adapt their military skills into successful careers in energy.”

Here’s a look at some of those activities:

“Hiring America” Show. Earley will be featured in an upcoming episode of “Hiring America,” a television program providing resources and information for new and seasoned veterans moving from the service into the workforce or seeking to build their careers.

PG&E's PowerPathway program has been instrumental in traiining veterans for careers in the utility industry. (Currents Archive Photo.)

The half-hour episode will be telecast in the Bay Area at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 9) on KICU Channel 36. Also, “Hiring America” will be seen this weekend in 32 nationwide media markets with military installations as well as The Pentagon Channel, the Department of Defense’s satellite television channel which broadcasts military news and information programs to nearly 2.6 million members of the Armed Forces.  [See the "Hiring America" segment featuring Earley.]

Boots to Business. PG&E will host to the first Boots to Business workshop designed to help veteran and service-disabled veteran- owned enterprises do business with PG&E and other companies. The event will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 12) from 2-5 p.m. at PG&E’s San Francisco office, 245 Market St., Conference Room A. Admission is free.

The three-hour workshop will detail the steps towards becoming a PG&E supplier and share available resources to help veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses succeed. Boots to Business builds on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) expertise in entrepreneurial training by collaborating with organizations, such as PG&E, to provide coaching specifically to help returning veterans transition from the military to entrepreneurial ventures.

PG&E is the first California utility and one of the first corporate partners in this breakthrough initiative.

PG&E made contributions to help open new veterans' homes in Fresno and Redding this year. Here, members of the Joint Services Honor Command stand guard outside the entrance of the Fresno facility. (Currents Archive Photo.)

Session speakers will include representatives from PG&E, the California Department of General Services, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Alliance for Community Development. Welcoming remarks will be delivered by Mary K. King, chief of staff to the president of PG&E and a retired U.S. Army captain.

Top Military-Friendly Company Ranking. G.I. Jobs Magazine has once again named PG&E among the top 100 military-friendly employers. The annual rankings, which were released for 2013 on Veterans Day, are based on the strength of company military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with previous military service, retention programs and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service.

PowerPathway. This year, 100 veterans have graduated from PG&E’s successful PowerPathway workforce training programs, which include courses specifically designed for veterans. Since 2008, PowerPathway has graduated more than 250 veterans, and 100 of them are now working for PG&E.

Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG). Founded on Veterans Day in 2011, the group has grown from 200 to 700 employees in the past year. So far this year, the group has raised nearly $50,000 for its scholarship program, more than any other employee resource group within PG&E.

PG&E employees who are members of the Veterans Employee Resource Group recently toured Diablo Canyon Power Plant. (Photo by John Lindsey.)

Melba Gavina, a PG&E business process analyst and Air Force veteran, is the president of the San Jose chapter of the Veterans ERG.

“We are passionate for veterans and their education,” Gavina said. “These individuals choose to join the military and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy.  Our group is committed to help these veterans and their dependents to acquire a higher education. “

John Lindsey contributed to this story. Email Tony Khing at

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