Ethanol Industry Leads in Employing Veterans

Cindy Zimmerman

A new study from the Department of Energy (DOE) finds that the U.S. ethanol industry once again leads the nation in the share of military veterans in its workforce, with one in every six employees previously serving in the armed forces. The DOE report also shows that the concentration of union workers in the ethanol industry is higher than the national average.

“Veterans make up 16% of the corn ethanol workforce, a higher concentration of veterans than any other energy technology and higher concentration than the 6% national average,” according to the report, which was prepared by DOE’s Office of Policy, Office of Energy Jobs. Across all energy sectors, veterans account for 9% of the workforce.

Meanwhile, ethanol industry workers represented by a union or labor agreement make up 7% of the industry workforce, higher than the national workforce average of 6%. The ethanol industry’s union worker density is identical to that of the petroleum fuels sector, according to the report.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is proof of that finding, with two military veterans among the organization’s 15 staff members, Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White and President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“The ethanol industry’s values and priorities align extremely well with those of our women and men in uniform, so it’s no surprise that one out of every six ethanol industry workers is a veteran,” said Cooper. “Military veterans know that they can continue to protect their fellow Americans and serve their country by producing a homegrown, cleaner, greener, and more affordable renewable fuel.”

Cooper also noted that the DOE report underscores that progress is being made toward the industry goals of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, females account for 30% of the ethanol industry workforce, well above the 25% average across all energy sectors, and workers with disabilities make up 4% of the ethanol industry workforce, double the average across all energy sectors.

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