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Hiring green: military veteran recruiting for the wind industry

Having enlisted in the Air Force in 1981, Mark Goldstone finally retired as a Senior Master Sergeant in 2005 after a 24-year career. He quickly found employment in the wind industry, where he quickly discovered the similarities between his former service and his new career. Goldstone has never looked back, and now manages wind farm construction.

Need for talent within the wind industry

America’s wind power industry grew by 15 per cent in 2010 and provided 26 per cent of all new electric generating capacity in the United States, according to a report recently released by the American Wind Energy Association.

With the 1603 cash grant in lieu of tax credit extended to include all projects started in 2011, the industry remains poised for continued expansion. As the industry expands, so does the need for a supply of talented labor. However, due to the rapid growth of the industry, combined with its relatively young age, industry-experienced talent can be difficult to find.

Translating skills from the military to the wind industry

The US military represents perhaps the richest source for new wind talent, with over 180,000 veterans transitioning from service each year. “Regardless of the position they held in the military, veterans have several things in common – an accelerated learning curve, the ability to ‘do more with less’, and a proven track record of sound decision making under the most difficult of situations,” said Mike Starich, a former US Marine Corps Captain and the President of Orion International, a national military recruiting firm that has placed nearly 600 veterans into the Wind Industry. “Veterans are willing to travel, have realistic salary expectations, and are eager to begin a career in renewable energy.”


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