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Will Tesla Motors become a leading employer of US veterans?

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Ann Hermes/Staff/File

(Read caption) Tesla Motors Model S electric sports sports sedan on June 6, 2013 in Boston. Out of Tesla Motors' 6,000 employees, 300 of them are veterans, and Tesla Motors plans to hire 600 more.

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The environmental benefits of electric cars are obvious, but cutting emissions is far from the only way carmakers can play a positive role in society.

Many US military veterans face difficulties in finding civilian jobs after they return from deployment. While that fact is a fixture of the news cycle, frequent discussion of the problem hasn't always led to solutions.

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Now Tesla Motors is trying to make a difference.

The Silicon Valley electric carmaker is poised to become a leading employer of veterans, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Tesla now has more than 6,000 employees, of whom 300 are veterans. A further 600 veterans are "in the hiring pipeline," according to the company.

Veterans are viewed as an especially good fit for building electric cars, because many of them acquired relevant technical skills during their service. And all are used to working as part of a team.

With that in mind, Tesla is making a concerted effort to hire veterans – and to make them feel comfortable in their new positions.

A former Army intelligence analyst in its human resources department focuses on recruiting veterans. Candidates are reached through word of mouth, partnerships with veterans groups, and recruiting events.

Tesla also holds informal monthly gatherings for its military employees, and has made Veterans Day a company-wide paid holiday.

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Management also makes efforts to accommodate employees still on active duty.

When National Guard member and Tesla engineering technician Megan Gates left for a two-year deployment, Tesla held her job open. The company kept in touch with her throughout that term.

After returning to work last November at the company's Fremont, California, assembly plant, Gates was recently promoted.

Tesla's pro-veteran policy will likely create more opportunities for returning servicemen and women in the near future.

The company is in the midst of a major expansion, with plans to grow sales, increase its presence in China, and build a massive lithium-ion cell "Gigafactory" to sustain increased car production.


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