First Cohort of N.Y. Troops to Energy Jobs Natural Gas Boot Camp Honored at JCC

(l-r) Jack Minor, Jason Atkins, Hayden Lee, Todd Little, Kirke Best, Eduardo Ramos, Jacob Jones, Dylan Perez, Daniel Conti, Anthony Thomas, Wilson Chan, Stephen Hinds, Anthony Pease, Patrick Godfrey, and Justin Zambrano. 

On February 17, 2017, Jefferson Community College (JCC) along with representatives of National Grid, Con Edison, and Fort Drum celebrated the first cohort of Fort Drum soldiers to complete the “N.Y. Troops to Energy Jobs Natural Gas Boot Camp.”

N.Y. Troops to Energy Jobs Natural Gas Boot Camp is a six-week workforce ready training program designed for soldiers exiting the military. Thanks to the generous funding by National Grid and Con Edison the training was available to soldiers tuition-free.   

Northeast utilities will need hundreds of natural gas workers over the next few years to build infrastructure to meet the needs of customers. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of military veterans will be looking to transition to civilian life and work. And, they could have just the skills energy utilities need.

“We are proud and honored to help put these veterans to work at National Grid,” said Timothy Graham, National Grid vice president, Customer Meter Services in New York. “These dedicated men and women who have served our country can be a part of National Grid and help our company thrive and grow.  We have the opportunities and the jobs; they have the skills we need. It’s a win-win if ever there was one.”

The “N.Y. Troops to Energy Jobs Natural Gas Boot Camp” is sponsored by the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and partners JCC, Con Edison, National Grid, and the Fort Drum Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. The program supports a soldier’s transition to begin their journey to civilian life and work during the final months of their active duty service.

“Our long-standing support of veterans continues with this innovative natural gas boot camp,” said Katherine L. Boden, Con Edison vice president of gas operations. “Providing transitional training for veterans honors the hard work and sacrifice made by our women and men in the military, while helping our company continue to safely operate one of the largest natural gas distribution companies in the country.”

The classes were held on the campus of JCC and at National Grid’s training facilities in Syracuse and Watertown, N.Y. The topics included math, principles of natural gas, hand-powered tools, piping and customer service along with pre-employment testing, resume writing and interview skills. These are all skills the graduates can use in a wide range of applications across the energy industry.

All of the 15 participating soldiers successfully completed the training and passed a pre-entry field assessment test. Three of the soldiers were interviewed by Con Edison on February 17, 2017 at JCC.   

A grant from the Department of Labor (DOL) is funding four additional “N.Y. Troops to Energy Jobs Natural Gas Boot Camp” programs beginning on May 1, 2017, and in the fall, and again in the spring of 2018. Terrence Harris, JCC Dean for Continuing Education and Community Engagement said, “We are constantly looking for job training opportunities for our transitioning soldiers, especially the 30% that choose to stay in our region, so when we got the call from CEWD we were ecstatic and grateful that National Grid and Con Edison agreed to fund the first cohort. Knowing the anticipated demand for natural gas workers over the coming years, we are thrilled that our application to DOL was granted, allowing the College to position as many soldiers as possible to fill these jobs. It’s important to note that the program also caters to transitioning soldiers who might not remain in the region.  With the certificate they earn in the program, they can seek jobs with utility companies across the country.”

In addition to the Natural Gas Boot Camp, National Grid supports many veteran-related programs and services including: Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG), a Veteran to Veteran ‘buddy’ programThank a Service Member, and a SoldierCare volunteer effort where employees send letters and care  packages to service people overseas.

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