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100K Construction Jobs Slated for Vets

Monday, February 17, 2014

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Some 100,000 U.S. veterans are in line for “good-paying” jobs over the next five years, under a new initiative backed by the construction industry.

More than 100 construction associations and companies—many of them direct competitors—are collaborating on the initiative, announced Feb.10 at A National Symposium: Veterans' Employment in Construction.

The symposium was hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor and Joining Forces, an organization led by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden that assists U.S. military families.

Dr. Jill Biden and soldiers
White House photo

Dr. Jill Biden greets guests after a Joining Forces event in Philadelphia in 2012. The organization works with military families and veterans in transition.

Private-sector employers support the jobs initiative "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," First Lady Michelle Obama wrote in an oped in the Wall Street Journal.

Construction Growth Ahead

The U.S. construction industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, outpacing the growth of the economy as a whole, Michelle Obama wrote.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls construction one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with more than 1.5 million additional jobs expected by 2022—an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent. Employers have expressed concern about being able to staff adequately for the expected boom.

Large and small construction contractors and subcontractors are participating in the veterans' employment initiative, officials said.

"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," said DOL Secretary Thomas E. Perez.

Michelle Obama - Joining Forces
Joining Forces / The White House

Construction companies know that hiring veterans is "the smart thing to do for their business," wrote First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Joining Forces organization is partnering with the Department of Labor on the initiative.

"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."

Training Offered

More than 80 additional companies are committing their existing training and employment programs to fill new construction jobs with veterans, officials said.

"Veterans are invaluable to the construction industry," Larry L. Melton, project executive for Bechtel and Marine Corps veteran, said at the announcement.

"Men and women who serve in the military often have the traits that are so critical to our success: agility, discipline, integrity, and the drive to get the job done right."


Tagged categories: Construction; Government; Hiring; Jobs; Labor

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