Jason Whitlock, MK3 USCG

The Utility Workers union has long been a champion for military veterans and their causes, but few issues are as crucial as the reintegration of military veterans into civilian life. Through both national and local efforts, the UWUA Veterans Committee has tirelessly worked to create pathways for returning military heroes to provide for their families and thrive as productive members of their communities.

It is widely recognized that veterans stand out as one of the most dependable sources of dedicated and capable potential employees in America. Without undermining the contributions of our civilian brothers and sisters, the work ethic and resolute determination exhibited by military veterans are well-established attributes, forged through the sacrifices of blood, sweat, and tears. This very commitment underscores the need for their integration into the civilian workforce — not merely as a possibility, but as a demonstrated reality.

Surprisingly, in the current landscape, only a limited number of our utility companies have chosen to align themselves with the UWUA’s Utility Worker Military Assistance Program (UMAP) — an initiative aimed at fostering partnerships between corporations and veterans seeking meaningful employment. This program bridges the divide between veterans seeking opportunities and companies looking for exceptional employees.

In the spirit of unity and progress, I call on all UWUA members to implore their company’s leadership to partner with UMAP. In doing so, they not only gain access to a talent pool rich with experience, discipline, and dedication but also contribute significantly to solving the pressing issue of veteran unemployment. Collectively, we possess the power to ensure that the transition from a military uniform to civilian attire signifies more than a wardrobe change, but a path toward a brighter future for those who have already given so much. UWUA’s UMAP is a shining example of how synergistic partnerships between organizations, who often are at odds with one another, can create terrific opportunities for deserving people.