By David Thill and Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network
Kevin Johnson served as a captain in the U.S. Army and spent a year stationed in Baiji, Iraq, home to a major oil refinery. The war made clear to him the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Johnson was stationed “at the heart of the oil infrastructure in Iraq,” he said, “watching the infrastructure being attacked on a daily basis and having my soldiers ask me, ‘When are we going home?’” That was the genesis of Johnson’s career in clean energy. “I knew that when I got out that I wanted to be on the other side of that fight,” he told the Energy News Network.
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Photo by Ken Oltmann / U.S. Department of Energy
Among other resources, the authors reference the 2019 Clean Jobs Midwest survey, which provides information on 12 states, including veteran representation.
Our State’s Executive Summary: Nebraska: Home to 19,004 Clean Energy Jobs
In Nebraska, 9.6 percent of the state’s clean energy workers are veterans. By comparison, veterans make up 6 percent of the national labor force. The large ratio of veterans transitioning to clean energy jobs is partially the result of the U.S. Department of Defense’s long-standing commitment to investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and training programs that prepare veterans for private-sector employment in industries like solar. Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector – 70.9 percent of Nebraska’s clean energy businesses employ fewer than 20 individuals.
SUMMARY: With 19,000 jobs and counting, the clean energy industry is a significant employer in Nebraska. Even as jobs in the state overall are decreasing, jobs in Nebraska’s clean energy industry are growing at a relatively healthy 3.5 percent clip. Clean energy employers in Nebraska are bullish when it comes to ongoing hiring: they predict a 7.7 percent increase in clean energy jobs in 2019, higher than the regional average.
Additional Recommended Reading
- Take Action to Bring Solar Jobs to More Veterans, Solar Energy Industries Association
This Veterans Day, the solar industry is doubling down on its commitment to hire and uplift veterans and former service members. More than 19,000 veterans are working in the solar industry throughout the United States, or 7.8% of all U.S. solar workers. We’re proud that the solar industry is hiring veterans at a higher percentage than the overall economy, but we still can do so much more to welcome and train former service members.
- New Solar Veterans Initiatives to Advance Training and Career Pathways, SEIA News Release
The Solar Foundation is launching two new solar workforce development programs to connect transitioning military service members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with career training, professional development, and employment opportunities in the solar industry. In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Solar Foundation is leading efforts to expand and strengthen a nationwide pipeline of talented job candidates with military experience into a range of advanced roles at solar companies across the United States. These projects — the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship Program and the Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative — are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) as part of the expanding Solar Ready Vets Network.
- Saluting America’s wind power veterans: Wind brings stability, Guest Bloggers, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog. Steven Valentine is a Wind Tech 2 at Clearway Energy’s Elbow Creek Wind project in Big Springs, Texas. He is a U.S. Army veteran.
- Saluting America’s wind power veterans: Teaching the next generation, Into the Wind