Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry.
Most career opportunities offered by the program are connected to federally-approved apprenticeship training programs. Such training is provided by the trade organizations themselves at no cost to the veteran. No prior experience is needed; in fact, most successful placements start with virtually no experience in their chosen field. All participating trade organizations conduct three to five year earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship training programs that teach service members everything they need to know to become a construction industry professional with a specialization in a particular craft. And, because these apprenticeship programs are regulated and approved at both federal and state levels, veterans can utilize their G.I. Bill benefits to supplement their income while they are learning valuable skills and on the job training.
The program collects career opportunities from the nationwide building and construction trades and works to provide former military personnel with that data. Candidates can access information about careers and apprenticeships via the Internet from anywhere in the world. To apply for work or membership, candidates complete a comprehensive profile that helps hiring managers determine what transferable skills they acquired during their military service. Once a candidate finds and submits interest in a career opportunity, otherwise known as a digital handshake, they are contacted by a Helmets to Hardhats representative to ensure all application requirements are met.
Helmets to Hardhats is co-sponsored by all fifteen Building and Construction Trades organizations, as well as their employer associations, which together represent about 82,000 contractors. Labor leaders have embraced the program, eager to help military personnel transfer their experience into secure careers within the construction industry.
"Together, the military and the construction trades have built America over the past several hundred years with the same kind of sweat, equity, commitment and courage," Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau said. "No other industry in the history of the United States has ever made a total commitment to support the armed forces by providing access to the best jobs in construction."
Helmets to Hardhats is gaining significant attention across the nation not only as a program that works, but also a program that cares. Moving forward, one of the essential goals is to deploy a statewide direct entry program into every state.
With the implementation of a statewide direct entry program, Helmets to Hardhats candidates are able to get into quality construction careers soon after applying for them. Once the state proclamation is signed, it allows all JATCs and locals (at their discretion) to accept current and former military candidates and provide credit for military training and experience. Thus far, a total of twenty-one direct entry/support proclamations have been signed by various state political leaders from Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut, West Virginia, Illinois, Washington, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Delaware, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and California.
Interested personnel are encouraged to visit www.helmetstohardhats.org.
Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion...