NRECA is retooling its national veteran hiring initiative that recruits and retains veterans and supports co-ops looking to hire them.

Vets Power Us replaces Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a coalition of 160 co-ops in 34 states established by NRECA in 2016. Vets Power Us will use a commitment-based approach to support the program’s mission of recruiting, hiring and honoring veterans, active military and their spouses and providing resources to co-ops.

NRECA began the initiative to help co-ops address the challenges of attracting and retaining a new workforce as the industry faces waves of retirements and increasingly complex technology. The initiative also seeks to raise awareness of utility careers among veterans, 40% of whom come from rural communities.

“There’s a lot of alignment between the seven cooperative principles and military values, which fosters a transition between veterans and co-ops,” said Desiree Dunham, NRECA’s manager of talent programs and the initiative’s point person. “Veterans bring valuable skill sets and are mission-focused as a result of their military service.”

To participate in the program, co-ops must complete a Vets Power Us commitment form. NRECA will then send materials to help them build a veteran-friendly employer brand.

In addition, NRECA will request participating co-ops to provide annual veteran hiring data to track progress.

“This will help us develop success stories and best practices to feature and share with members in the future,” said Dunham.

Other resources will include an online guidebook, toolkits and other resources to help co-ops hire and retain veterans and spread awareness about co-op careers in the veteran community.

For more information about the program, hiring veterans or to make the commitment, check out the Vets Power Us section on Contact Desiree Dunham at or 703-907-5995 for questions.