Army PaYS

Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, put his signature on an agreement to participate in the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS), in a ceremony held January 18 at AEP Headquarters. The program is designed to accelerate the transition of veterans to careers in the private sector.

Through the program, active and reserve servicemen and women in the Army and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) are identified by their skills and matched with civilian job opportunities that require those skills. Soldiers who qualify with a skills match are guaranteed an interview for the job by participating companies.

AEP revealed its plans during the signing ceremony that was also attended by AEP employees, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Clydellia S. Prichard-Allen.

“AEP has a long history of being involved with the military. We are proud to honor the sacrifices veterans make to serve our country, and one of the best ways we do that is by helping them transition to a rewarding career with us,” said Akins. “Veterans are skilled, team-oriented, motivated and safety-conscious -- traits that help AEP become what we aspire to be: the country’s premier regulated energy company.”

Since Army PaYS began in 2000, more than 500 employers have partnered with the program; AEP is the 602nd employer to join. During the enlistment process, soldiers begin establishing a relationship with companies for which they are interested in working. Those who qualify will then be granted an interview at the company of their choice upon leaving military service. This program does not guarantee employment, but it does help new veterans clear the often-daunting first hurdle to starting a career: getting a foot in the door.

Veterans come to AEP because, as employees, they continue to serve our national security interests by delivering safe, reliable electricity to fuel our homes and power our economy, Akins said. "No question, there is a natural flow from a military career to a career in distribution or transmission  . . . we are very proud to be involved in helping servicemen and women make that transition and find a place at AEP." Approximately 11 percent of AEP's workforce is composed of military veterans.

Stivers, who serves in the Ohio Army National Guard, including active-duty deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom, commended AEP for its actions. "This commitment by AEP is a great business decision," he said. "Military veterans return to civilian life skilled, smart, and they understand what teamwork means."

Beatty, who presented a Congressional resolution to Akins commending AEP on the new partnership, said, "We all have a duty to serve. We all stand on someone else's shoulders. This is a great partnership that proves that by working together, we can help prepare our youth for success in the future."

Taylor noted that there are 900,000 military veterans and active-duty servicemen and women in Ohio, the sixth largest such contingent in the U.S. She said while attending a recent deployment ceremony for an Ohio National Guard unit leaving for an overseas peacekeeping mission, she observed two things. "First, I saw from their faces how very young these men and women are -- some are only 19 years old," she said. "But what I also saw in their faces was their determination and commitment to serve our country and represent us well. Returning veterans have these attributes, along with the skills and training they need to be successful in their post-military careers."

Lt. Col. Prichard-Allen, the Army's recruiting commander for the central Ohio area, noted that the PaYS program also provides a valuable database of prospective job candidates for businesses' talent pools.

AEP has received national recognition for its veteran employment practices with 14 years of being designated a Top Military-Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs magazine, most recently in November 2016. AEP provides paid leave for employees in the Reserves or National Guard who are ordered to active duty in emergency situations. AEP was one of six energy companies to develop the Troops to Energy Jobs initiative to provide veterans with a career roadmap for jobs in the energy industry. The company also is a member of the Veteran Jobs Mission, a coalition of more than 230 companies committed to hiring military veterans.

To support the 1,873 military veterans who already work at AEP, the company sponsors the Military Veteran Employee Resource Group (MVERG), with members in Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. MVERG's mission is to promote the roles and contributions of veterans and active-duty military employees, provide professional development and networking opportunities for our members and serve as a liaison between AEP and the veteran and military communities.

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