Students in the PG&E PowerPathway workforce development program have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to work in the utility industry – as welders, linemen, gas service representatives, and other positions – building a career to sustain themselves and their families.
Since the program started in 2009, 600 students, including 300 veterans, have graduated with more than 80 percent hired by PG&E or in the utility industry.
On Friday, April 10, Vice President Joe Biden met a group of veterans in the training class at PG&E’s Oakport Service Center in Oakland. Students were participating in the first job training that would advance them straight to work with a contractor to gain valuable job experience.
As part of a two-day visit to the Bay Area, Vice President Biden spoke about the importance of programs such as PowerPathway.
“The reason I am here is because the President and I both believe this is one of the premier programs in the country,” said Vice President Biden.
“Today, I saw students were learning to be coding inspectors for gas lines. Every one of them is a veteran and every one of them is learning the skill they need to inspect gas lines for corrosion and defects, and for public safety as well,” he said.
“What you’re doing here at PG&E to train veterans for specific skills of what a company needs is exactly what companies should be doing everywhere,” Biden said.
Upon completion of the six-week program, students will also receive necessary certification, the NACE International CIP Level One certificate, and be qualified to apply for competitive positions with PG&E and other utility companies.
“For decades, the Vice President has been a tireless champion for our nation’s veterans and a trailblazer in supporting programs to provide education and workforce training opportunities to our brave veterans returning home,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who invited the Vice President to the East Bay to see the work that PG&E is doing with the program.
“I’m glad the Vice President is here to see PG&E’s work actively recruiting veterans for their PowerPathway program so they can train and develop the next generation of utility workers,” she said.
PowerPathway’s success has resulted from strong partnerships with the IBEW, community colleges, non-profit organizations and workforce investment boards.
The program is just one of the ways PG&E has partnered with the Obama Administration to invest in a workforce that will continue to advance the national economy – serving long-term unemployed Americans, small and diverse business owners and military veterans.
“Improving our economy fuels jobs that empower Americans who have been hungering to get back to work,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I want to thank Vice President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for their unwavering commitment to rebuilding our national economy. We’ve felt the impact of their leadership in Oakland where we’ve seen a nearly 50 percent drop in our unemployment rate since 2010.”
PG&E Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley said, “We appreciate the partnership PG&E has had with the Obama Administration over the years on workforce development. Together, we’re focused on getting veterans and long-term unemployed Americans into careers—not just jobs. PowerPathway is one of the ways PG&E is building the workforce that will help power California’s future.”