[Host following up on previous segment.]
>>HOST: Earlier this year, President Obama
affirmed his commitment to supporting clean
energy initiatives -- like wind and solar
power. The Goal is to reduce U.S. dependence
on foreign oil... to promote energy efficiency...
and to create jobs in what’s called the
“Green Collar” industry. Employment opportunities
in this field are expected to expand rapidly
over the next several decades. And a non-profit
group in Denver is working hard to make sure
America’s Veterans are ready to perform
some of those jobs.
>>GARETT REPPENHAGEN: "It's no secret right
now that we’re in an economic slump. One
of the few growing industries in America is
the green industry."
>>NARRATOR: Former Army sniper Garett Reppenhagen
is part of this new movement – coming home
from Iraq to take on a very different mission.
>>GARETT REPPENHAGEN: "We try to set up work
opportunities and training opportunities for
Veterans to get them into the green industry."
>>NARRATOR: As a Regional Program Director
with Veterans Green Jobs –- a national non-profit
based in Denver -- Reppenhagen and others
like him are helping lay the groundwork for
what could turn out to be a massive transition
program for returning Veterans.
>>GARETT REPPENHAGEN: "Now what we’re trying
to do is re-tool them for a new mission, and
that mission is to green America. And these
Veterans are taking to it very well, because
they understand the training process, they
get the hands-on training, they understand
that they’re being repurposed for this new
[Sound of the chainsaw buzzing.]
>>NARRATOR: Part of that new mission involves
protecting the nation's existing natural resources.
At this Fire Camp outside Salida, Colorado,
Veterans are trained in forest management
techniques, including fire mitigation.
>>MARK THOMAS: "It's dangerous, it's hard
work -- some of the environment that you work
in is some of the most extreme on the planet,
so what we’re seeing here with the Vets
is a marriage made in heaven because they’ve
already seen this in their life.”
>>NARRATOR: Air Force Veteran Jason Lawrence
says that’s part of the attraction.
>>JASON LAWRENCE: "Particularly the type of
work, the attention to detail that’s necessary
when it comes to doing trails, or saw work,
the pressure that a fire crew may experience...
At one point, we had one young man who walked
away from a tool, and he said he felt this
pang, you know, that he had been trained so
deeply to always be close to his rifle, in
his military experience, that he wouldn’t
leave his tool behind."
>>NARRATOR: Teamwork is another value these
Veterans bring to their work. And there are
others as well.
>>GARETT REPPENHAGEN: "We already know that
Veterans have great work ethic, have wonderful
values, can work under pressure, work under
extreme situations, and that’s carried forward
out into the woods, when they're doing this
job, and they have to be independent and not
have any sort of oversight on them. We know
that they’re going to go out in the woods,
and they’re going to work a hard day’s
work, and be able to be okay out in the back
>>NARRATOR: Reppenhagen says many Vets find
life out in the back country both familiar
and therapeutic... and would welcome careers
in the outdoors. But Veterans Green Jobs is
also training for jobs in local communities.
["Here we're starting to do a blower door
>>NARRATOR: Army Veteran Michael Flaherty
was taught to train other Veterans in identifying
home energy leaks – part of a Veterans Green
Jobs training program called HEAT.
>>MICHAEL FLAHERTY: "HEAT is Home Energy Audit
Training, and that's where the Veterans who
go through our program are going to learn
the basic skills to get out there in the workforce,
and do energy audits on homes that truly need
it. There are so many homes in this country
that are going to need this sort of work done,
and there's not a lot of people who are currently
trained, in doing it.
>>GARETT REPPENHAGEN: "These Veterans are
going to have good, stable, long-term careers
and possibly start businesses in a field that’s
going to only grow and make them money."
>>HOST: According a report by the American
Solar Energy Society, "Green Industries" currently
create about 8.5 million jobs in the U.S.
And depending on public policy decisions,
that figure could grow to as many as 40 million
jobs by 2030. If you’d like to learn more
about increased opportunities in the "Green
Industries" field, go to www-dot-VETERANS