How the US Military Is Filling the Skills Gap in RNG

After another year of growth in 2023, the US RNG sector is set for further growth in 2024 as more and more infrastructure is created across the country.

One of the biggest challenges that developers are facing is filling the associated recruitment needs – especially as plants tend to be built in either remote locations or areas where there’s competition from the oil and gas industry. 

As recruitment specialists in the biogas industry, we’ve witnessed first-hand the challenges that energy companies are facing. Fortunately, there’s a huge opportunity to fill the skills gap coming from an unlikely source – the US military. 

Military workers often have a diverse skill set and – more importantly – extremely valuable qualities that make them well-suited for roles within the renewable natural gas (RNG) sector.

Over the last 12 months, AD Energy has worked with several candidates from the US military to help fill those positions. It has proved a big success both for the client – as they have great candidates who are enthusiastic and have a strong work ethic – but also for the candidates themselves, as they have a great career opportunity following their service.

How Can the US Military Fill the Skills Gap?

Over six million people work in the energy sector across the United States. The breadth of roles within the industry is staggering and there are always opportunities – from innovation in energy technology to the skilled tradespeople and maintenance operators that maintain the backbone of the sector.

This skills gap is particularly prevalent in the renewable natural gas sector. Over 3.4 million roles are directly linked to the sector and according to the CEWD, 83% of this work occurs within local communities. There’s a huge need for skilled, ambitious professionals in the industry.

Employers all over the world value leadership skills and a strong work ethic – none more so than the energy industry. Energy businesses have already recognised that what they need is ingrained in those with military experience, so much so that the energy industry in the US employs a higher percentage of veterans than the majority of other industries.

This trend is so common that many energy companies across the country have developed structured schemes designed to help veterans onboard into energy roles. Energy leaders are eager to attract and retain military personnel in key roles, leveraging their experience and ‘can do’ attitude.

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What Skills Do US Military Personnel Have That Work in the RNG Sector?

Here are some other ways in which US military workers can be a great fit for the RNG sector:

Discipline and Work Ethic: Military personnel are known for their discipline, strong work ethic, and ability to adhere to protocol. In the RNG industry, where safety and compliance are paramount, these qualities are highly valued.

Technical Skills: There are several military roles that involve technical training or experience which can translate well into the technical aspects of RNG production. US Navy personnel, for example, may have worked as technicians or nuclear operators – both of which are roles that share transferable skills with energy plant operators or maintenance technician roles.

There’s examples of this across all branches of the US military and having the ability to operate and repair complex equipment, maintain facilities and troubleshoot issues are all skills that relate to the energy sector.

Leadership and Teamwork: Military personnel often have experience in leadership and teamwork, which are crucial in the RNG industry. Effective communication, coordination, and the ability to work well with others are essential for the successful operation of increasingly large-scale RNG projects.

Problem-Solving Skills: Military training emphasizes quick thinking and problem-solving in dynamic and challenging situations. These skills are transferable to the RNG industry, where unexpected issues may arise, requiring individuals who can think on their feet to find solutions.

Safety Awareness: Prioritising safety while training and operating in the field is crucial in the military – a mindset that easily transfers over to the RNG industry where working with gases and operating machinery requires a strong commitment to safety protocols and procedures.

Adaptability and Flexibility: Military personnel often face rapidly changing environments and unpredictable challenges. Their adaptability and flexibility can be valuable assets in the RNG industry, where technology and regulations are continually evolving.

Training and Education Opportunities: Many military personnel undergo specialized training and education during their service. This background can be leveraged in the RNG industry, especially as the sector continues to grow and requires skilled professionals.

When we consider these attributes – alongside the potential for targeted training and support – it’s easy to see how the renewable natural gas sector can tap into the pool of talent that often emerges out of the military. This creates an effective, sustainable and diverse workforce.

If you’re in the process of finishing your time in the military and you’re considering what comes next, the RNG industry may be an ideal fit for you. 

Here at AD Energy, we have experience in making the transition as seamless as possible, with plenty of opportunities that suit former military personnel.

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