Helmets to Hardhats Highlights Veterans Career Opportunities

Helmets to Hardhats was founded in 2001 and has helped more than 20,000 veterans in the United States find jobs in the construction trades.

DULUTH, Minn. – There are more than 350,000 veterans in Minnesota.

The latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the unemployment rate for Minnesota veterans at almost six percent.

In some cases veterans from all military branches depend on programs like one called “Helmets to Hardhats” that offer career opportunities.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed July Hire a Veteran Month.

And Helmets to Hardhats gives veterans a way to transition back into the workforce with a job in the construction industry.

Helmets to Hard hats says it all.

Taking service members from their helmets in the military to a hardhat in the construction industry.

The program helps veterans at any age who were honorably discharged with finding a new career after the military.

These men and women can do an apprenticeship, which can turn into a long–term career in construction.

“We work hand in hand with the unions here in the state of Minnesota and we try and keep up to date with all of their current information,” said Minnesota Helmets to Hardhats Director Justin Rost. “And we help use that information to get veterans through the doors talking to the right people at the right place doing their applications at the right times to get into the union construction trades.”

Helmets to Hardhats was founded in 2001 and has helped more than 20,000 veterans in the United States find jobs in the construction trades.

Jared Anderson is one of them.

He spent seven years in the Air Force as a staff sergeant.

Jared first became involved with Helmets to Hardhats after what he says was a period of uncertainty in his life after the military.

“Monday–Friday I’m working 40 hours a week. {I} show up, bought a house and got a whole way of life,” said Anderson. “I guess is probably the best way to put it. I see a career in the future.”

Jared says his time in the Air Force going on missions prepared him for his new role.

“I’m physically doing this. I’m physically showing this. I’m building this for somebody or I’m building this for me to use, maybe it’s the airport or the local library or something like that,” said Anderson. “I get to see me put effort into it. So that’s why I like it so much.”

U.S. Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-MN) represents Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.

He’s the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress.

Walz says a program like Helmets to Hardhats recognizes veterans as heroes and the skilled people they are.

“Helmet to Hardhats, the use of the G.I. bill incredible contractors who understand what they’re getting with this had reduced that unemployment rate,” said Walz. “Now veterans unemployment rate dropped below even the national average.”

Some of the career training from Helmets to Hardhats is provided at no cost to the veteran.

And veterans can earn a paycheck as well as their G.I. Bill benefits to cover general living expenses during apprenticeship training.

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