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Workforce Development – Hiring Our Veterans

This year, AGC of California has made great

strides to educate our members on the impor- tance of hiring veterans. President Curt Weltz has championed this effort through his year of presidency. As his own son is actively serving in our military, and as was evident at our Fall Conference this year, it is a subject near and dear to Curt’s and his wife, Diane’s, hearts. In a time when two-thirds of contractors

Tom Holsman CEO, AGC of California

AGC of California,

along with AGC of America, have worked hard this year to support programs which help to promote and provide job opportunities for veterans, which in turn creates an immediate workforce available to our members.

report that they have trouble finding work- ers, service men and women who are nearing the ends of their enlistments and will want private sector jobs, offer an immediate, vi- able workforce to fill this gap. Currently, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the military annually discharges 160,000 active service members and 110,000 Reserve and National Guard members. Statistically about 32,000 of those veterans will join the ranks of nearly 1 million veterans already unem- ployed. AGC of California, along with AGC of America, have worked hard this year to support programs that help to promote and provide job opportunities for veterans, which in turn creates an immediate workforce avail- able to our members. At AGC’s Spring Conference in Monterey,

the keynote speaker was Major General Matt Caulfield,

founding director of Helmets to

Hardhats. According to the Helmets to Hard- hats website, “The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for transitioning veter- ans to obtain the necessary training in a par- ticular craft in order to obtain a quality career in the construction industry, not just a one- time job until the end of a particular project.” Beyond gaining access to a large pool of vet-

erans seeking work in the construction indus- try, this program also allows employers to drill down and locate workers with special skills. All Helmets to Hardhats workers are required to fill out detailed work histories, making it easy for employers to sort out workers based on specific needs. While our industry is currently experiencing a gap in the skilled workforce, this program allows for easy communication with skilled applicants who meet specific re- quirements for our contractors. In June of this year, AGC of America an-

nounced that it was joining the national Hiring Our Heroes Program as part of the construc- tion industry’s effort to add 100,000 veterans to the workforce over the next five years. Hiring Our Heroes is a program the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched in 2011 as an initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find employment. Hiring our Heroes currently reports that more than 24,000 veterans and military spouses have ob- tained jobs through their job fairs, with more than 1,700 businesses pledging to hire 448,000 veterans as part of

the Hiring Our Heroes

campaign. Through our own Construction Education

Foundation, AGC has been active in promot- ing and indentifying careers in construction for more than 10 years. The genesis of our efforts is consistent with the theme of this ar- ticle. We recognized the aging construction workforce (average age for most crafts is re- ported to be 48 years old), coupled with a steep decline in awareness /interest in the construc- tion industry as a means of a career, have cre- ated a considerable gap. The components of our efforts include

outreach to high school and junior high level students, regional occupational programs, vo- cational education programs, and college level programs centered on construction industry careers. However, many of these programs are long-term efforts. Recognizing that many construction companies have more immedi- ate workforce needs, the veterans’ programs mentioned here have served as a resource for a readymade workforce. Equally as important, the programs supporting hiring a veteran have been a great way to thank our service men and woman for their service to our great nation. Thanks to all those employers who have

hired our veterans and supported the AGC Construction Education Foundation.

Tom Holsman

4 November/December 2014

California Constructor

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