+Tuesday, August 23, 2005+
Last week I received an email from Robert Williams, the Marketing Coordinator for the program Helmets to Hardhats asking if I would be interested in including a link to their website on my page. I'm going to go a step further and post the article he attached to the email he sent me; since Matt worked in the construction industry before being deployed and plans to not only return to that trade, but to hopefully start his own business in it, I find this program to be an excellent opportunity for our troops returning home. I've included a link in my sidebar (under "My Blog"), so please check this out and spread the word on it!

Helmets to Hardhats Press

It seems like everywhere we look, tributes are being made to the men and women who have served our country. We saw it at the super bowl, we see it in the daily news and we see it on the wrists of people that pass us by on the street. Thousands of our troops are still fighting in Iraq and others have returned home to take the next step in their civilian lives and careers.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that was started in 2002 that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry. The program is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment, and Veterans Employment and headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif. Direction for management of the center comes from a board of trustees comprised of equal numbers of employer and labor trustees.

The program has experienced tremendous success in a short amount of time as evidenced in our metrics, success stories and positive public relations. Through the proactive support and registrations of the building and construction trade unions, quality employers and JATCs, we now have over 45,000 careers listed on our website and have referred 21,161 candidates into careers.

Everyday calls, letters and emails pour into the Helmets to Hardhats headquarters from candidates that have been placed in a career through the program with their thanks and appreciation for what has been done for them. There is unbelievable emotion in the things that they tell us.

Here is what one candidate had to say.

“My name is Kurt Stumpf and I wanted to thank you for this wonderful program for veterans. I am a bricklayer from Indianapolis, local 4 and I have been deployed recently to fight in the war. I have been able to utilize the training that I received in the union. My primary job here is masonry and I have been able to help train and work next to the local people here. The members in my unit respect the knowledge I have learned in the union and have shown a desire to join a union when they return home. I am so proud of you guys for giving my brothers in uniform a chance to better their lives. I've shed a tear for that and thank you for this grand opportunity you have given to all veterans. I've never felt more proud about being a union worker than I do now.”

Direct Entry

One of the major milestones achieved in 2004 with the program was the beginning of statewide direct entry signings. With the help of the Indiana BCTC, all of their affiliates, and the Governor, we were able to create a direct entry process to help our candidates get accepted quicker and easier into all of the Indiana trades. Ohio soon followed with a similar direct entry-signing event.

This year Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington and Rhode Island have also had direct entry signing events. The direct entry signings provide a common agreement between the BCTCs, the affiliates, JATCs, governmental authorities and Helmets to Hardhats leaders to support all Helmets to Hardhats candidates within each 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 through Helmets to Hardhats. 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.

Various public media entities approached Helmets to Hardhats on several occasions wanting to hear the “good news” story. Helmets to Hardhats was featured on CNN, ENR Magazine, Public Radio News, On Guard Magazine, CBS, NBC, ABC and many other military publications. Also the program was asked to be game day sponsors for the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Orioles professional sports teams. In addition to those mentions, the Department of Labor put together a documentary that highlighted Helmets to Hardhats calling it the best example of a transition program for our veterans.

Helmets to Hardhats is also working in conjunction with the Outdoor Living Network to produce 30 second and 90 second commercials.

Our “Good News” campaign for 2005 is all about proactively sharing our successes. We want the world to know what the Building and Construction Trade members and employers have done for our troops. In order to support those efforts, we will soon release an online media center that will allow the public to view our success stories, photos and voices of candidates that have been placed with a simple click of a button.

Sharing our successes will help to bring in many more supporters of the program that will allow it to continue to grow and prosper. During this time of war, there is no better news to share.

For more information please call (866) 741-6210 or email sarah@helmetstohardhats.org

You can also find further reading on the program here.

wishing matt was here @ 1:56 PM+

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