New Union-Employer Partnership Expands Veteran Employment Opportunities

Utility Workers Military Assistance Program, SoCal Gas Partnership Seeks to Lower Veteran Homelessness, Depression and Suicide Rates in California

BAKERSFIELD, CA (JANUARY 18, 2022) – The Utility Workers Military Assistance Program (UMAP) in partnership with Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 132 and Southern California Gas today launched a new program that supports lowering veteran homelessness rates through training and employment opportunities. UMAP’s proven-effective, training-to-placement model will benefit 40 veterans over the next several months. Individuals who successfully graduate will work for SoCal Gas as leak technicians.

“This exciting new partnership between UMAP and SoCal Gas will create a clear path forward for veterans who otherwise may have faced uncertainty about what to do next after leaving the military,” said UWUA Director of Veterans Affairs and Workforce Development Rick Passarelli. “Veterans are looking for a hand up and not a handout and this program is a lifeline when they need it. We’re excited this program can begin to benefit veterans in California.”

UMAP is a unique union-employer partnership administered by the Power for America Training Trust Fund (P4A), the UWUA, UWUA Local 132 and SoGal Gas. All who are enrolled in the inaugural cohort of this three-week program are in the process of separating or recently separated from the military.

“Veterans are a huge asset to the work we do to operate and maintain a safe, reliable gas utility infrastructure for homes and businesses,” said UWUA Local 132 President Eric Hofmann. “We’re pleased to work with SoCal Gas to create these new employment opportunities in good, family-supporting utility sector careers.”

SoCal Gas is the latest employer to join UMAP, a national program with a record of nearly 100 percent job placement. The program benefits veterans who want to work in the gas, electric or renewable energy sectors.

Distinguished speakers at the opening ceremony event at SoCal Gas’s state-of-the-art training facility included SoCal Gas’ Erin Smith, P4A’s Jon Harmon, Local 132’s Tony Duran. Additionally, Colonel David Grant, National Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life, Colonel (Ret) Sam Whitehurst, Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services and William Attig, National Director, AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council all spoke to the positive impact the program will have.

“We’ve seen time and again how a job in the utility sector translates well for veterans,” said UWUA President James Slevin. “A good career in a team environment, including healthcare, and a family-supporting salary has changed the trajectory of over 750 veterans’ lives.”

Launching this new program also represents an expansion of the SkillBridge program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). SkillBridge offers veterans the opportunity to receive on-the-job training before they fully separate from the military – a model that aims to make the transition from military to civilian life go as smoothly as possible. 

For more information about training opportunities visit


Chartered in 1945, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents 50,000 active members employed in America’s utility sectors including the electric, gas, water, and related professional and service industries. James Slevin is UWUA’s National President. For more information visit