When Southern California Edison (SCE) called April Simmons this past July about a job opportunity, she was on active military duty. For the past 13 years, she has served in the Army Reserves as a sergeant first class in the 314 Military Intelligence Battalion.
Simmons is one of several members of the military currently working at SCE and she donned her green employee shirt recently to take part in the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade.
“On Veterans Day, I see it as time to reflect on my own service, but more importantly, on the service and sacrifices of those who paved the way for our freedoms,” said Simmons, a member of SCE’s Business Resiliency team. “I’m proud of my service, but I also want to support a company that supports veterans the way Edison does.”
Currently, veterans make up 6.2 percent of the employees at SCE. In 2013, 13 percent of new hires were former and current military personnel.
“We owe such a debt of gratitude to those of you who have served,” said SCE President Pedro Pizarro. “Honoring Veterans Day is another way that our company can demonstrate our values — including values of diversity and inclusion.”
Pizarro noted that SCE’s recruiting efforts were recognized recently by inclusion in G.I. Jobs’ 11th Annual Military Friendly Employers edition.
“I’m proud of the military heritage and hiring practices here at the company,” he said. “We actively recruit veteran personnel through job fairs and career workshops.”
Valor, a veteran-focused employee resource group at Edison International, recently held their annual lunch in recognition of current and former members of the military. One of the speakers was Kristine Hess, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and women veterans outreach coordinator for the National Veterans Foundation.
Hess shared her story as a female veteran, a group she calls the invisible population. In the next 20 years, women veterans will constitute 15 percent of California’s veteran population.
“If you’ve ever worked with a woman veteran, you’ll find that we are stubborn,” said Hess, who accepted a $5,000 check from Valor on behalf of the foundation. “Our attitude is ‘I’ve got this; I don’t need your help,’ which is our downfall. We wait too long to ask for help.”
When Hess started her work at the National Veterans Foundation — an organization dedicated to providing resources to veterans — one of the first things she did was start a program for female veterans.
Today, the program offers help to homeless female veterans, including job aids and placement in safe housing.
“If you meet a woman veteran, don’t ask if we are a veteran — ask if we’ve served,” she said. “Ask us about our service, where we’ve been located. Just connect with us. We’re looking for ways to get back into the community and serve again. We want to be active, be involved and give back.”