WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today, as part of its work with the Joining Forces initiative, joined President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden as they announced that American businesses have worked with Joining Forces to hire or train more than 290,000 veterans and military spouses, nearly tripling the initial goal well ahead of schedule. PG&E is supporting further veteran hiring and placement by committing to increase its own hiring and placement of veterans by 10 percent through the end of this year. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. In 2011, the President challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. PG&E has filled 211 vacancies with veterans, 146 of which were external hires, which equated to nearly seven percent of the utility's total external hires. "We at PG&E have a singular purpose in our commitment to the White House's Joining Forces initiative – to connect the talented people returning home from serving our country with available jobs that match their unique set of skills," said John Simon, senior vice president of human resources for PG&E. "Through our PowerPathway™ program, we have been able to leverage public-private partnerships to train and hire our country's servicemen and women. Of the 150 who graduated from the program's veterans-only courses, 72 percent have been hired by PG&E or other energy industry companies." Simon and Erick Varela, a veteran and PG&E employee who joined the company through the PowerPathway™ program, took part in today's White House event. Varela arrived home from his service in the Army to a tight job market and eventually, homelessness. After going through the PowerPathway™ program, Varela is now an apprentice electrician for PG&E in Eureka, Calif. PG&E launched its PowerPathway™ program in 2008 in collaboration with local community colleges, responding to the need to replace up to 40 percent of its retiring skilled workforce over the next five years. In 2013 alone, the PowerPathway™ program committed to provide career and technical training to 100 veterans, and hire or place a majority of those into energy and utility industry jobs. So far this year, more than 65 veterans have been trained through the program.