The training yard at Fresno City College's Career & Technology Center seems a long way from the battlefields of Afghanistan. But for Greg Gedese, it's a lot closer than it looks. We watched as he effortlessly climbed a 25-foot pole, "Part of my job with the military was jumping out of airplanes so for me, the height isn't that much. I'm surrounded by a great group of guys. We're all veterans here. We all get along pretty good. So it's just like the military, a brotherhood." He's participating in a 10-week PowerPathway program, which trains future PG&E linemen and pipeline detection specialists, preparing previously unemployed or underemployed veterans for entry level jobs in the energy and utilities industry. John Murphey, one of the trainers, explained, "Adjustment to civilian life takes a little step. I know, I was a veteran myself. That step of what do I do after the service."
The work is hard, but the pay and benefits are good. Most importantly, this is a much-needed step toward a successful career. PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles: "There's no guarantee of employment with PG&E but they're getting the skills they need to have that chance. You can see the dedication they have, they just want an opportunity." An opportunity to go from being American heroes, to achieving the American dream. The program's success impressed President Obama. In January he highlighted one PowerPathway graduate at the White House.
The Fresno group graduates this Friday. Potential employers will be there, and some grads may get hired on the spot. More PG&E PowerPathway sessions are planned in the coming months in Kings and Madera counties.
Apply for PG&E's PowerPathway Program here: http://bit.ly/1gBLHWN