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July 2023

From the Officers
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Welcoming Our Vets

Honoring our servicemembers is something we think a lot about on holidays like July 4, Canada Day, Memorial Day and Veterans/Remembrance Day, but together with our training partners at NECA, improving veterans' lives is work we're undertaking every day.

Over the past few years, the Veterans Electrical Entry Program, or VEEP, has provided a path into the IBEW for more than 250 members of America's military, and hundreds more are enrolled as I write this.

A program like this is so important to the IBEW, not just because it's a real commitment from us to the servicemen and women who sacrifice so much for us, but because it grows and strengthens our ranks at the same time.

You've heard President Cooper and me say it time and time again: Our veterans are among the best of us, and the IBEW is better for every one of them who chooses to join our union.

VEEP is our way to help smooth that transition back to civilian life, and after years of getting it off the ground, the program is growing rapidly.

In the last year, we've added inside training centers across the Ninth District, and there are more to come as we work to expand across the U.S. On the outside, all of our AJATC training centers participate in VEEP.

But as we celebrate Independence Day this July, I want you to ask yourself what you and your local can do to welcome our nation's veterans.

Here's a start: Accept direct entry of VEEP graduates into your apprenticeships.

VEEP provides a head start to active-duty military members, allowing them to complete the first year of classroom work before their separation from the armed forces. And many of them plan to return home after their service. All your local has to do is welcome these heroes with open arms.

If you'd like to do more and there is a nearby military installation, think about hosting a class. And if you're not near a base, consider having your instructors participate online. There may even be state money you could seek to cover the costs. Get in touch at if you want to learn more.

Finally, as we expand the program, we receive a lot more applicants than we have spaces for, so we're working with Helmets to Hardhats ( to make sure no veteran gets turned away. Post your opportunities for apprenticeships and entry points into alternative classifications on the H2H website. That goes for our Canadian locals, too, where Helmets to Hardhats has long been instrumental in getting servicemembers into our local unions.

The IBEW has always been a union that honors our veterans, and I know there are so many of you out there who served your country and were lucky enough to find your way into this Brotherhood.

But not every serviceperson knows of the opportunities in the trades, and for my money, there's no better way to honor their service than to welcome them among us and offer them the opportunity for an incredible civilian career.


Also: Cooper: Freedom in Union Read Cooper's Column

Paul A. Noble

Paul A. Noble
International Secretary-Treasurer