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DOE: Ethanol Industry Leads the Charge in Hiring Military Veterans

June 28, 2023



The U.S. corn ethanol industry continues to be a leader when it comes to employing military veterans, a new study released today by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports. The veteran workforce in the ethanol industry is triple the rate seen in the national workforce average and higher than the petroleum fuels and general energy workforce.


“This report shows how, once again, the U.S. ethanol industry proudly leads the way in hiring military veterans,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, himself an Army veteran and part of the RFA staff’s 20% veteran workforce. “The ethanol industry’s values and priorities, focused on American-made products that provide energy independence, align extremely well with those of our women and men in uniform, so it’s no surprise that we are attractive to veterans seeking employment. 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.”


Veterans made up 15% of the corn ethanol fuels workforce, which is a higher concentration than the 9% energy workforce average, according to the report, which was prepared by DOE’s Office of Energy Jobs. The petroleum fuels workforce is 9% veteran. Meanwhile, ethanol industry workers represented by a union or labor agreement make up 7% of the industry workforce, the same as the national workforce average and identical to that of the petroleum fuels sector, according to the report.


Cooper also noted that the DOE report underscores that progress is being made toward the industry goals of greater diversity. Females account for 31% of the ethanol industry workforce, well above the 26% average across all energy sectors. The petroleum fuels workforce, by contrast, is 25% female. The ethanol industry also hires more older workers, with 23% of its workforce aged 55 or older, compared to 18% for the petroleum fuels industry and 17% across the energy sector.


The portion of the ethanol industry workforce made up of Hispanic or Latino workers has grown from 9% in 2018 to 11% in 2022, while the share comprised of Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander workers has doubled from 1% to 2%. The shares of workers identifying as Black or African American has grown by two percentage points since last year, from 5% to 7%, and American Indian or Alaska Native (1%), Asian (6%), Black or African American (5%), and two or more races (5%) have held relatively steady.


Workers with disabilities comprise 4% of the ethanol industry workforce, double the average across all energy sectors and on par with the national average.