DOD Partnership Establishes Union as a SkillBridge Provider

UWUA Initiative Creates a Pathway to Employment for Transitioning Members of the Military

Department of Defense Partnership Establishes Union as a SkillBridge Provider

 INDIANAPOLIS, IN (AUGUST 28, 2019) – The Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and Department of Defense (DoD) entered into an historic agreement, one that connects troops leaving the military with training and employment opportunities in the utility industry. The Memorandum of Understanding signed today, by UWUA President Jim Slevin and Fred Drummond, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training, officially recognizes UWUA as a Career Skills Programs (CSP) training provider and an endorsed SkillBridge Provider by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“What differentiates this program from many others out there is that we don’t just provide veterans or transitioning service members with training and leave them to navigate the hiring process on their own,” said Jim Slevin, president of UWUA. “We offer individuals who are seeking a new career pathway a job and the opportunity to earn a good living in the utility industry.”

The program will be administered through UWUA’s Utility Worker Military Assistance Program (UMAP) and its Power for America Training Trust Fund (P4A). Service members will have the opportunity to receive on-the-job training before they fully separate from the military – a model that aims to make the transition from military to civilian life go as smoothly as possible. UMAP’s record of nearly 100 percent job placement provides troops with the option to receive training in the utility industry including in-demand renewable energy sector and gas industry jobs.

“Programs like UMAP give veterans the opportunity to translate the skills they learned in the military to a civilian career opportunity,” said Fred Drummond, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training.


 “They’re getting a valuable skill that will lead to a job and in some cases, they are even earning academic credits that can be applied if they advance their educational opportunities.”

 Grants through the Department of Labor and other allied organizations fund supportive services – including bus passes and other scholarships – making it possible for veterans to participate at no cost to them. UMAP and P4A have found unique support among service members and their families going through the programs.

This model also allows veterans to become familiar with everything the utility industry can offer them – including a family-supporting salary, benefits, vacation time and the opportunity to remain in a hands-on career where they are surrounded by other veterans.

“This program offers direction and a culture of teamwork that’s familiar to veterans when they need it most,” said Rick Passarelli, UWUA’s Director of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans are looking for a hand up not a handout. Our commitment to them is that if they work hard while they are enrolled in this program, they have a job waiting for them.”

UMAP launched in April 2012, led by Rick Passarelli who is a military veteran. UMAP is unique in that unlike other programs out there, it connects veterans with employers such as Peoples Gas in Chicago and Consumers Energy in Michigan so they have a job in the industry immediately following the training program. To date, around 700 veterans have graduated from UMAP.

The Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents around 50,000 active members employed in the energy, electric, gas, steam, water, and related professional, technical and service industries. The UWUA was chartered in August 1945 to replace the former Utility Workers Organizing Committee, the CIO union for utility workers. James Slevin is the UWUA National President. For more information visit