RICHLAND, Wash. — Veterans Day serves as an important day for our country and the Tri-Cities.
As a community with deep roots in our Armed Forces, it is only appropriate that we take a day out of our busy lives to say thanks to those who have served to protect us. While my colleagues at Areva and I join Tri-City residents in saying thank you today, another way we can express our gratitude is by giving our veterans an opportunity for a career after their service to our country.
Employees who are dedicated, disciplined, well-trained and loyal are critical to a companys success. These important qualities and traits are found in many of our veterans.
The same reason why these men and women excelled as members of our Armed Forces is what will make them a valuable resource to any company or organization.
One reason men and women join the military is because they believe in our country and want to do something meaningful. As an engineer just graduating college, I felt the same way; that is why I began my career in the energy industry. Our industry helps to light homes, businesses, hospitals and schools across the United States.
Right here in Richland, our work directly supports providing reliable, affordable energy for the public, while increasing our energy security.
Hiring veterans is more than just about giving them a new opportunity to do something significant. In the energy industry, we need a qualified work force to replace retiring workers. The nuclear industry in particular, which grew dramatically in the 1960s and 1970s, is facing a very real challenge in the coming years. Industry groups have estimated that up to 40 percent of our work force could be retiring in the next few years. We need to start hiring and training workers today to help offset the retirements of the future.
With this in mind, Areva launched a webpage earlier this year dedicated to veterans. This valuable resource, along with others such as troopstoenergyjobs.com, helps retiring military personnel find careers that could be a good fit. With the help of these tools, Areva alone has been able to hire many veterans across all our offices in the United States. In fact, here in Richland, nearly 10 percent of our work force is comprised of veterans.
As an industry and a company committed to hiring veterans, we have realized that our job is more than just offering a career. The transition from active military duty to a civilian job can be challenging. Thats why it is important that we provide mentors for each of new hires.
Mentors are senior veterans at Areva who can help our new hires adjust to the civilian environment. The benefit of working hard to recruit and retain this select group of employees is a reliable and dedicated work force.
I hope all of you join me in saying thank you to all our veterans. But more importantly, I hope that business owners celebrate our veterans by providing them with good jobs. Doing so is good for our country and good for business.
Michael Rencheck is the president and chief executive officer of Areva Inc. Its nearly 5,000 U.S. and Canadian employees including more than 600 individuals in the Tri-City area are helping supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical energy to the greatest number of people. For more about AREVAs efforts to assist veterans, please visit www.us.areva.com.