Xcel Energy looking to increase veteran employment

Xcel Energy says it hopes military veterans will play a larger role as the company is working to shape its future workforce. (File Photo)

Xcel Energy says it hopes military veterans will play a larger role as the company is working to shape its future workforce.

“The military is a great training ground for the types of jobs we offer at Xcel Energy, and it is in our best interest to capitalize on the investment our nation has made in our military veterans as they continue their service to our area communities,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy - New Mexico, Texas.

The company adds that it is committed to a goal of ensuring veterans make up at least 10 percent of all new hires as it seeks to fill the shoes of workers who are moving in greater numbers toward retirement. Year to date, that percentage stands at 10.2 percent and two years ago it exceeded 14 percent. Now, 9.8 percent of all Xcel employees are veterans.

Xcel employs a full-time recruiter who works with veterans on career coaching and resume assistance. The company engages in military-specific marketing and communications efforts and participates in more than 35 job fairs that specifically target military veterans and active reservists throughout its Texas and New Mexico service area.

Additionally, veterans who come on as apprentices in Xcel's substation and line departments can use G.I. Bill benefits to help them purchase tools and equipment for their job, as well as supplement their income up to the journeyman level, Hudson said.

These efforts and benefits have led Xcel to being named "Best for Vets" by Military Times and G.I. Jobs has recognized the company as a "Military Friendly Employer" for eight years.

Veteran support at Xcel extends to the company's retention efforts. Heather Hancock, who works with Xcel's property services team in Amarillo, volunteers her time with a company-sponsored organization known as MOVE, or Military Ombudsmen for Veterans and Employees. Established in 2012, MOVE provides opportunities for veteran employees to get involved in the community through efforts such as placing flags at cemeteries on Memorial Day and serving food for send-off and welcome-home events for the Texas Panhandle Honor Flight.

“Retaining these employees is a top priority, and we hope that by providing them ways to be involved and by recognizing their achievements, they will serve our company and our communities for many years to come,” Hancock said.

Every year on or near Veterans Day, MOVE invites veterans to recognition events where company officials present them with a challenge coin as a token of Xcel Energy's appreciation for their service to their country and for their service as employees. This year, MOVE added a knowledge fair to its Veterans Day activities and invited representatives of several veteran groups in the Amarillo area to set up tables at Xcel's downtown Amarillo office.

Groups such as the Veterans Resource Center and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provided information on benefits, healthcare, counseling and other services.

Besides its efforts to hire and retain veteran employees, Xcel does business with more than 140 veteran entrepreneurs. The company has received an award from the National Association of Veteran Business Owners for having one of the best supplier diversity programs for veteran-owned businesses and was featured in a recent issue of Vetrepreneur Magazine for the achievement.

Information on careers for veterans at Xcel Energy can be found here.

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