Need Skilled Labor? Look to Military Veterans

Completing a stint in the military says something about a person: they understand timeliness, know somthing about leadership and often have handled expensive equipment

Veterans leaving the armed services could be excellent employees for the construction industry – if only they thought to apply.

“In the military, [construction recruitment] is especially bad because people are on bases and somewhat insulated from the outside world,” says Darrell Roberts, executive director of Helmets to Hard Hats, an organization that helps place retiring servicemen and women in construction jobs. “So, anything construction companies do to attract labor has less of an impact.”

That’s unfortunate, says James H. Roberts, president and CEO of Granite Construction, because former soldiers have an array of skills and qualities. For one thing, successfully completing a stint in the military says something about an individual.

“You’re getting a person who knows about timeliness, is drug-free and responsible, and has most likely had a leadership role and handled millions of dollars worth of equipment,” says Roberts.

In addition to these “soft skills,” many military veterans – who served as electricians, carpenters, and engineers in the armed forces – also possess expert technical skills. And they know how to get things done.

“How many lieutenants have been handed the blueprints to a camp, which is a mini town, and been told to build it?” says Roberts. “If you can do that, you can run a site here in America.”

(more construction employers' advice on recruiting skilled labor . . . )