Chelsea Collage

One Navy Veteran’s Story of How SDG&E’s Internship Program Helped Her Navigate New Seas

Editor’s Note: March is Military Appreciation Month at SDG&E, where about 8 percent of our employees are veterans. We make special efforts to help service members transition successfully to civilian careers. Just recently, we wrapped up our second annual Veterans Internship Program, which provides job experience, exposure to career opportunities in the utility industry and assistance with career transition to the civilian workforce. Below is a first-person account written by one our recent veterans interns. Since its introduction in 2017, our Internship Program has given several dozen veterans the opportunity to intern in a variety of fields, including Community Relations, Legislative Affairs, Accounting, Human Resources, Customer Service, Electric Operations, and Gas Distribution. Shortly after Chelsea completed her internship with SDG&E’s Community Relations Team and after her active duty ended, she was interviewed for a position on the SDG&E social media team and was offered the job. She will be starting with us later this month.

My internship lasted six weeks and ended seven days after my last day on active duty. To say that it eased my worry about my fit in a civilian job would be a serious understatement.

Every SDG&E and Sempra Energy employee I met was nothing but welcoming, friendly, and helpful.

As a mass communication specialist in the Navy, it was difficult for me to leave behind a job where I was telling the story of people doing incredible things and making a difference every day.

When I started looking for prospective employers, I was searching for a company that is very involved in the community, values its employees, and really makes a difference.  Sempra Energy and SDG&E both surfaced multiple times in the searches I was doing. Needless to say, I was beyond excited when I found out about the internship, and ecstatic when I got the call I was selected for it.

During my internship, my mentor, Nhu Tran, a community relations manager, taught me about SDG&E’s philanthropy. I knew the company incentivizes employees to volunteer, but I had no idea they also partner with local nonprofits and local agencies to encourage young people to consider science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, support veterans and their families through charitable initiatives, and do so many more incredible things.

I was able to participate in brainstorming sessions to develop events for local STEM teachers and students, plan a tour to SDG&E for kids in an afterschool computer program, and write a story about a partnership with Miramar College to help support disabled veteran students. These and many other work experiences I’ve had at SDG&E will continue to stand out in my memory.

When I interviewed one of the human resources coordinators who helps run the internship program about the program’s goals, she said it was to help veterans in their transition and let them get a real impression of SDG&E as a potential employer.

In my case, and for the other interns I’ve spoken to, it has certainly accomplished both.

My experience interning at SDG&E taught me that this is a company where employees genuinely care about one another, where there’s a positive, encouraging atmosphere, and where people are committed to both being a utility company that the public can trust to be reliable and safe and a company that is invested in the people it serves, the children in local schools, and the future.

I met incredible people in my field who gave me invaluable advice. I gained experience that will build my resume. Today I am confident that companies exist where I’ll be welcomed and fit in seamlessly alongside my co-workers – because SDG&E has shown me that there’s at least one.