Honoring Our Veterans/Hiring Our Veterans

by Pamela Astarte – SFPUC



When we talk with utility managers about their ideal employment candidate, one quality surfaces again and again: Veterans make great employees.  Veterans are prime candidates for the critical skilled trades jobs our utilities are most focused on filling.  Many are middle skills workers, with more than a HS degree but no Bachelor’s degree.  Some have come out of the service with experience in one or more of our skilled trades. These men and women are also highly disciplined, willing to work and to learn new skills, effective and efficient workers and, above all, team players.

Skilled trades jobs, such as operators, Instrument Techs, Maintenance Mechanics and Machinists, are all well-paid, with most starting out between $60,000 and $80,000 a year and with great benefits.

Thanks to the GI Bill, veterans are also willing and able to further their education. This allows them to complete their training and take certification exams that allow for stackable credentials, where they might develop skills in multiple fields: electricity, water distribution, plumbing, welding etc., thus making them even more desirable candidates for employment

Collaboration is needed among community colleges, veterans’ organizations and utilities to promote awareness of the industry, to provide internship opportunities to veterans, and to reach out to these brave men and women to promote living wage trades careers! It is important to let veterans know that they do have choices; that college is not the only option. Veterans who are willing to work in skilled trades need only check the Career and Training listings on our website at http://www.baywork.org.

In the future BAYWORK plans to have a dedicated Veterans page on our website with videos of our employees who are veterans, as well as specific Transition Pathways from the military to jobs in our industry. If you are a veteran working in the water sector, and willing to share your story with others please email us at sfbaywork2011@gmail.com.