IBEW Veteran Joins First Lady for Jobs Initiative Announcement


April 30, 2013

Eric Varela’s story is all too common. After serving as a combat infantryman in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division, Varela returned to California in 2008 to record high unemployment.

Eventually Varela and his family found themselves living out of their car.

Today, Varela is an apprentice electrician employed by PG&E and a member of Vacaville Local 1245. He is saving up for his first house.

He owes his success in part to PG&E’s PowerPathway program, which recruits and trains returning veterans to help meet the upcoming skills shortage in the utility industry.

But with unemployment among post-9/11 veterans running above 9 percent, corporate America, the federal government and labor must do more to help transition returning soldiers into the work force.

The White House agrees. 

On April 30, Varela will be in Washington D.C., for First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s announcement of a new initiative – Joining Forces – to encourage the hiring or training of 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of the year.

Says the Joining Forces Web site:

The First Lady and Dr. Biden have met with military families, learned about their successes and challenges, and made it their priority to support them. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

Click here to watch the announcement live on Tuesday, April 30, starting at 11:15 a.m.

And click here to learn more about the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.


Photo credit: www.whitehouse.gov