Ethanol industry leads energy sector in employing veterans

By Renewable Fuels Association | June 28, 2022

A new study released today by the Department of Energy (DOE) found that the U.S. ethanol industry once again leads the nation in the share of its workforce that is comprised by military veterans, with one in every six employees previously serving in the armed forces. The DOE report also showed that the concentration of union workers in the ethanol industry is higher than the national average.

“Veterans make up 16 percent of the corn ethanol workforce, a higher concentration of veterans than any other energy technology and higher concentration than the 6 percent national average,” according to the report, which was prepared by DOE’s Office of Policy, Office of Energy Jobs. Across all energy sectors, veterans account for 9 percent of the workforce.

Meanwhile, ethanol industry workers represented by a union or labor agreement make up 7 percent of the industry workforce, higher than the national workforce average of 6 percent. The ethanol industry’s union worker density is identical to that of the petroleum fuels sector, according to the report.

“Today’s report from DOE confirms once again that the U.S. ethanol industry proudly leads the way in hiring military veterans,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, himself an Army veteran. “The ethanol industry’s values and priorities align extremely well with those of our women and men in uniform, so it’s no surprise that one out of every six ethanol industry workers is a veteran. Military veterans know that they can continue to protect their fellow Americans and serve their country by producing a homegrown, cleaner, greener, and more affordable renewable fuel.”

Cooper also noted that the DOE report underscores that progress is being made toward the industry goals of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    •Females account for 30 percent of the ethanol industry workforce, well above the 25 percent average across all energy sectors.

    •Workers with disabilities make up 4 percent of the ethanol industry workforce, double the average across all energy sectors.

    •The portion of the ethanol industry workforce made up of Hispanic or Latino workers has grown from 9 percent in 2018 to 12 percent in 2022, while the share comprised of Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander workers has doubled from 1 percent to 2 percent.

    •The shares of workers identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native (1 percent), Asian (6 percent), Black or African American (5 percent), and two or more races (5 percent) have held steady since 2018.