BUCHANAN, N.Y. - Two Entergy employees, Gary Taylor, group president of utility operations, and Mike Wright, maintenance supervisor at Indian Point Energy Center, are scheduled to be featured Monday on NBC’s TODAY Show to discuss Entergy’s commitment to veterans in the workplace.
Taylor and Wright were interviewed by Tom Brokaw at Indian Point to highlight a national campaign that connects military veterans with job opportunities. Entergy is one of the newest members of the Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring Our Heroes” campaign.
The “Heroes” campaign is in its second year, and has a goal of presenting 400 veterans job fairs in 2012. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce website says the program helped more than 8,500 veterans get jobs through its fairs. Indian Point currently employs 61 military veterans, the power plants employ 1,100 workers in total.
Employers can receive valuable tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans, part of a plan signed into law by President Obama in November, 2011. The “Returning Heroes Tax Credit,” provides employers up to $2,400 for veterans who have been unemployed at least six weeks, and up to $5,600 for long-term unemployed veterans, who have been jobless for longer than six months.
The “Wounded Warrior Tax Credit” nearly doubles that tax credit, maintaining the existing “Work Opportunity Tax Credit” of $4,800 for employers who hire veterans with service-connected disabilities, and provides up to $9,600 for firms that hire long-term unemployed, disabled veterans, according to the White House website.
Taylor, who is a driving force behind Entergy’s new Hiring Our Heroes initiative, discussed Entergy’s philosophy with Brokaw.
“The jobless rate for veterans between the ages of 18 to 24 has been roughly double the rate for their nonmilitary peers,” said Taylor, in a release written by Indian Point officials. “I am proud to be a part of this initiative where we can play a role in doing right by our veterans. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense to recruit these highly trained and motivated individuals.”
Wright talked with Brokaw about his Navy experience as a nuclear machinists' mate and ships diver aboard the U.S.S. Dallas during Operation Desert Shield, and how it prepared him for a career in the nuclear power industry. He also discussed how his colleagues at Indian Point supported his service in the New York Army National Guard in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wright, who was hired at Indian Point in 1992 as a nuclear mechanic, was deployed to Ground Zero after the Sept.11 terrorist attacks to help provide security at bridges, tunnels and power plants. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq, where he spent a year as the fire support officer and supervised a 10-person fire support unit. While in Iraq, Wright's company helped build the Iraqi National Guard forces by developing and implementing a basic combat training facility and course for local recruits.
Wright returned from Iraq in 2005 and resumed his duties as a nuclear instructor. He was again deployed in 2008 to Afghanistan where he served as a field artillery mentor and Command Sergeant Major Mentor for an Afghan Battalion. He returned from Afghanistan in January 2009 and retired from the National Guard.
As a sponsor of the Hiring Our Heroes campaign, Entergy will be participating in numerous veteran employment fairs throughout the year. The campaign targets all unemployed veterans but focuses on those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, March 28, Taylor and Wright will represent Entergy at a veterans employment fair aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. The job fair for veteran job seekers, active duty military members, Guard and Reserve members, and eligible spouses will be held from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.