Value added by a veteran, 365 days a year

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fBy Aidan Strickland

Special to Ontario Construction Report

November is a month dedicated to honouring the brave men and women who are serving or have served our nation in the Canadian military. This month offers us, as Canadians, a chance to collectively pause to remember their sacrifices and pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, in defending the values, rights and freedoms that Canadians cherish every day.

This month we honour and pay our respects to the selflessness, bravery and dedication that our Veterans have shown and continue to show. Our families, our communities and our children are able to live in a safe, democratic and inclusive society, thanks to the brave individuals who have served in uniform. The day of Nov. 11 is dedicated to them.

At Helmets to Hardhats (H2H), we believe that because of the dedicated service of our Veterans, it is now our responsibility to provide our services to Veterans as they find meaningful second careers in the unionized construction industry. This is the mission that drives Helmets to Hardhats, as we think about Veterans every day, all year long.

Each year, approximately 8,000 Canadian Armed Force (CAF) members and reservists leave the military and are faced with the often-daunting task of transitioning into civilian life.

This can be a challenging experience: adjusting to a less regimented lifestyle, adapting to new cultural norms and competing with other Canadians to find meaningful and well-paying employment.

We know that the Canadian Building Trades Unions, construction employers and industry partners benefit greatly by hiring our Veterans. This year, as we remember the Veterans who have served our great country, Helmets to Hardhats encourages you to remember the Veterans that are looking for work right now in your communities. These Veterans will add great value to your Local, your job sites and your lives.

In the Ontario construction industry, we need to hire over 50,000 workers to counteract the aging demographic and continue to match the growth of the economy with the growth of our workforce. There are so many opportunities in the skilled trades and unionized construction industry right now that need committed, hardworking, reliable and efficient workers. These qualities are just some of the ways our clients have described the veterans that they have hired.

Joe Maloney, international founder of Helmets to Hardhats emphasizes that, “the average age of military personnel that H2H refers to opportunities within the unionized construction industry are between the ages of 32-34”. These individuals have a long working career ahead of them.

“The program has been very successful in meeting its objectives”, stated Maloney. “More than 2,500 former military members have moved into the unionized construction industry over the last ten years with a retention rate of 90 per cent.” At Helmets to Hardhats, we continue to hear anecdotes about the high-performance level of the Veterans we place within the trades. “Our employers continue to be impressed with their accountability, time management skills, work ethic and leadership,” says Maloney.

Helmets to Hardhats encourages you to remember the fallen this Remembrance Day, but is also asking you to think about our Veterans every day, all year long. Ask yourself, how can you support a Veteran for all the support they have given us?

Don’t forget, hire a vet!

Aidan Strickland is director of communications for Helmets to Hardhats Canada. She can be reached by email at astrickland@helmetstohardhats.ca.

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