Our Employer of the Week series features one company each week that has made a commitment to hiring and supporting veterans. This week’s employer, is Helmets to Hardhats.
Helmets to Hardhats is a national non-profit working with fifteen building trade unions and thousands of contractors to help veterans and transitioning active-duty service members get the training they need to be successful in the construction industry. The program is specifically designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life.
Helmets to Hardhats places veterans into apprenticeships that last anywhere from three to five years.
"It's earn as you learn so you would go to school and then you go to work," said Helmets to Hardhats Executive Director Darrell Roberts. "Every week you're earning a paycheck and learning the craft. Every six months you get a tiered raise — you don't even have to ask for it as long as you're going to school and doing what you're supposed to do and going to work."
Helmets to Hardhats also offers benefits — medical, dental, eye, retirement. Apprentices can even use the GI Bill to supplement the Helmets to Hardhats income.
"After their allotted time as an apprentice, they become a journeyperson," Roberts said. "And that card can go anywhere in the United States and sometimes in Canada as well."
For those considering applying, there are three basic requirements to keep in mind. Program participants have to have received an honorable discharge — current National Guard and Reserve can apply as well. Participants also have to remain drug-free and be able to transport themselves to job sites. And they have to want it.
"You gotta want to be there. You gotta want this career," Roberts said. "That's why we insist that you're informed about what it is...The biggest thing for us is that the military person is making an informed decision. We don't want anybody rushing into it."
If you think the construction industry might be the right first step in your civilian career, visit the Helmets to Hardhats website to register.