DTE Energy helps create Natural Gas Boot Camp
National Guard to host unemployed vets training
CAMP GRAYLING, Mich., Nov. 12, 2012
CAMP GRAYLING, Mich., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The plight of American
soldiers coming home from tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq to bleak job
prospects has taken a turn for the better through a training program DTE
Energy helped create.
Michigan has the highest veteran unemployment rate in the country – 30 percent
– andfor some Michigan-based military units, unemployment is nearing 40
DTE Energy is hoping to help change that. The company has played a leading
role in the creation of a new Natural Gas Boot Camp, a seven-week pilot
program that's preparing Michigan veterans for jobs as maintenance fitter
apprentices. If successful, the program is expected to be a model for
"Our veterans are a highly-skilled, tough-minded, physically fit group of
people, and the government has already made a significant investment in their
training," said Bob Richard, DTE Energy senior vice president, Gas Operations.
"They're a tremendous resource, but despite the unemployment statistics,
they've been difficult to recruit."
The idea for the Boot Camp emerged last spring in meetings between DTE Energy
and Brigadier Gen. Michael Stone of the Michigan National Guard. While DTE
has been trying to boost its veteran recruitment, the Michigan National Guard,
with support from Gov. Rick Snyder, has been looking for solutions to the
state's veteran unemployment that could be applied nationwide.
"Training veterans for maintenance fitter apprentice positions seemed like a
natural place to start," Richard said. "These are tough jobs and veterans, in
addition to their skills, possess many of the other qualities needed such as
physical fortitude and strong determination."
DTE Energy was instrumental in developing the Boot Camp curriculum and
bringing in key partners to build the project, including Local 223 of the
Utility Workers Union of America, Consumers Energy, Alpena Community College,
Schoolcraft Community College, the Center for Energy Workforce Development and
the Michigan Workforce Intelligence Network.
More than 20 veterans began DTE's Natural Gas Boot Camp training last month at
Camp Grayling, a Michigan National Guard training facility. They have
completed four weeks of classes taught by Alpena Community College instructors
in Grayling, followed by three weeks of hands-on instruction at Camp
Grayling. A second Boot Camp, sponsored by Consumers Energy, is running
concurrently in the metro Detroit area.
Students were selected and pre-screened by the National Guard based on their
skills, experience and aptitude for the job. While there is no guarantee of
employment, Boot Camp students are expected to be well-qualified and ready to
start careers in the energy industry upon graduation.
Gen. Stone noted that the Boot Camp program itself could be replicated by
other utilities throughout the country and used for training vets for other
jobs besides maintenance pipe fitter apprentice.
"This is not just about finding a job for Michigan's veterans; it's about
helping our heroes enter into meaningful careers," Stone said. "While our
civilian population spent the time right after high school seeking higher
education and developing careers, these men and women spent their time
fighting the wars of this nation. Our goal is to build and test drive a
program that will benefit veterans and employers here in Michigan and
throughout the country."
SOURCE DTE Energy
Contact: Scott Simons, DTE Energy, +1-313-320-3955, firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Capt. Aaron S. Jenkins, Michigan National Guard, +1-517-481-8140,
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.