WASHINGTON — A new Department of Energy (DOE) study on employment in the U.S. energy sector shows that America’s ethanol industry employs a significantly larger share of military veterans than any other segment of the energy industry. Nearly one in five ethanol industry employees is a veteran (18.9%), compared to a national average of 7% across all sectors of the workforce, according to the DOE study.
Per 100 workers, the ethanol industry employs twice as many veterans as the oil and gas sector and nearly four times as many veterans as the coal and nuclear power generation sectors. Other renewable energy sectors, including advanced biofuels, wind and solar, also employ a relatively large share of military veterans. Across all energy segments, veterans comprise 9% of the U.S. energy sector’s workforce, slightly above the national average.
These statistics come as no surprise to veterans working in the ethanol industry, like Jeff Oestmann, a former U.S. Marine and current President and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy. “It’s a good fit for us,” Oestmann wrote in the Des Moines Register earlier this month. “After serving our country in uniform, we have chosen to work in the renewable fuels industry because it allows us to continue honoring a commitment to make America stronger and more independent. We take great pride in knowing we work in an industry that improves our nation’s energy security, economic vitality and environmental quality each and every day.”
Oestmann joined more than 120 other veterans working in the ethanol industry in sending a letter to President Trump on March 16. The letter noted the important contributions the U.S. ethanol industry makes to domestic energy security and encouraged the President to “…include a prominent role for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard in your America First Energy Plan.”
The share of veterans working in various energy sectors is broken down in the table below.
The DOE study is available here.