Construction companies have pledged to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years as part of an initiative to encourage non-government support for former troops, according to an announcement made at the U.S. Department of Labor's National Symposium: Veterans' Employment in Construction on Monday, Feb. 10.
The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers were in attendance to hear the pledge announced by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and First Lady Michelle Obama, who is leading the hiring effort alongside Jill Biden.
The agreement, as part of the White House's Joining Forces initiative, comes at a time of anticipated widespread industry growth; the construction industry as a whole is poised to gain 1.6 million jobs by 2022, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.
Construction companies "made this commitment not just because it's the patriotic thing to do, and not just because they want to repay our veterans for their service to our country, but because they know that it's the smart thing to do for their business," said Obama in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday.
The Labor Department is placing a focus on how employers can tap into the veterans’ community and how former troops can get involved in apprenticeships, as well as credentialing and certification programs.
“All men and women who have sacrificed for our country in our armed services deserve opportunities for good jobs worthy of their character and their achievements,” Perez said in the statement. “The Department of Labor will do whatever it takes to help our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs, and I am inspired by the commitment displayed today by the construction industry and all our partners in helping to achieve that mission.”
HFIAW has been committed to employing veterans for many years through the Helmets to Hardhats initiative, 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. We commend the Department of Labor for taking this vital step in helping the brave men and women who serve in the military succeed in challenging and meaningful careers when they return to civilian life.