As a veteran who returned home and struggled to find a job, I can certainly identify with today's job-seeking veterans. While the private sector may be at a hiring slowdown, the government is extending a helping hand to returning vets looking for work.
The GSA (US General Services Administration) together with Eaton Corporation and Autoflex will provide electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations for government facilities. The good news is that US military veterans will be hired to install them.
To bring returning vets “up to speed,” Eaton and Autoflex recently launched VETCARS, a new trainee program that will have the ability to train and employ thousands of veterans. The goal is to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.
The federal government's Electrical Vehicle Pilot Program currently operates 60 EV charging stations in five test cities. It hopes to install 100 by the end of 2012. In adopting electric vehicles, the government plans to improve the efficiency of its federal vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in 2020.
Returning veterans will be used on virtually every aspect of the VETCARS program. It recently conducted its first two-day workshop at the Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville. Plans are to hire returning veterans who have worked with electricity or electronics and to train them in the installation and management of EV charging stations.
Essentially a community college engaged in alternative fuels training, the workshops work closely with veterans as part of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium [NAFTC].
In my opinion, every EV on the road is one that won’t need a drop of imported oil from a foreign source. The VETCARS program does double duty in freeing our country from its dependency on foreign oil and giving our deserving veterans a job.
Thanks to the NAFTC, Autoflex and Eaton could be in a position to set up training programs at over 50 colleges around the country. Maryland has already set up five test charging stations at its Veterans Affairs medical centers. Program coordinators note that the program has helped many veterans who would otherwise be out of work and finding it tough to turn their military experience into many of the jobs currently being offered.
Programs like VETCAR give returning veterans a leg up in finding a job by allowing them to dovetail some technical military skills into this emerging new technology. Electric cars in some shape or form will eventually replace their internal combustion counterparts as battery technology improves. The only thing holding back their acceptance and purchase will be the ready availability of charging stations. And there are certainly enough skilled veterans eager to help with that.