Each year, approximately 250,000 people leave military service and begin the process of transitioning back to civilian life. For many, the transition is difficult, and it can be a challenge for service members – particularly those with families – to find a career path in a tightening job market.
Many veterans are finding their place in the workforce by filling the skills gap. Construction work is a natural fit for veterans, but veterans are also filling the demand for plumbers, electricians and craftsmen.
Construction workers are in high-demand thanks federal infrastructure spending and a construction boom, fueled partly by skyrocketing housing prices.
Sponsored Training Programs
To fill the demand for skilled construction workers, many companies are now sponsoring training programs, some of which target veterans specifically. Skanska USA is one such company that’s targeting veterans through its national recruitment and talent acquisition program.
The organization regularly attends veteran career fairs across the U.S. They also have a military recruitment campaign called “Pride in Country. Pride in Skanska.”
The company aims to recruit service members before their transition period begins to ease the transition process. Other organizations offer similar opportunities for service members to begin their training before leaving military service.
The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) also offers training programs in which veterans can participate. The organization offers more than 500 training and assessment facilities. Courses, which last two to four weeks, are sponsored by vocational schools, high schools, contractors and owners of construction sites. Sponsors set their own policies for paying fees, but most participants are able to train while earning a paycheck.
Courses include safety, mathematics, blueprint reading, recognition of standard tools and communication skills, among others.
In addition to NCCER and Skanska USA, other companies offering veteran-specific programs include APi Group Inc, Gilbane Building Co., Miller-Valentine Group, Turner Construction and Cajun Industries LLC.
Veterans can also work with Helmets to Hardhats to connect with construction training and career opportunities.
One challenge that military veterans face when leaving service is transitioning their military skills to civilian terms. One organization, Hard Hat Heroes, has created a credentialing portal that allows veterans to receive NCCER credentials for the training and skills they attained while in service.
The organization offers 85 alignments through its portal for the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. Each alignment was developed with the help of military and industry trainers. The organization’s Military Advisory Council offers assistance throughout the entire process
Once the proper paperwork is submitted through the portal, Hard Hat Heroes validates the documents and provides the applicant with the appropriate credentials and an NCCER card number.
So far, the portal has helped 200 veterans and has placed 50% in jobs through its partnership with NextOp, a veteran advocacy group.
The credentialing portal is available free of charge to veterans. The organization’s goal is to help veterans enter into a career while helping the construction industry bridge the skills gap.
The construction industry is expected to spend $1 trillion on new projects in November, but lack of skilled workers is troubling the industry. Military veterans leaving service can join a field that’s a good fit for their skills and is in high demand.