Hiring Our Heroes
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes initiative launched in March 2011 as a nationwide effort to connect veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses with meaningful employment opportunities.
Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's vast network of state and local chambers and strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, our goal is to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day.
Heavy Construction Academy
The Heavy Construction Academy is a six week program that teaches students how to operate nine different pieces of heavy equipment. The school has many veterans attend, and the academy is a VA-approved facility for vocational training for veterans who receive funding to learn a trade after the military.
The school has grown since it began in 2004. Students now come from around the country to participate in the program that could land them a job as a heavy equipment operator earning $44,000 a year immediately after graduation, according to Brian Martin, the academy's business development and operations director.
Martin estimated that about 85 percent of the students are veterans looking to transition to a civilian job. The academy is a VA-approved facility for vocational training for veterans who receive funding to learn a trade after the military.
Helmets to Hardhats
Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry.
Most career opportunities offered by the program are connected to federally-approved apprenticeship training programs. Such training is provided by the trade organizations themselves at no cost to the veteran. No prior experience is needed; in fact, most successful placements start with virtually no experience in their chosen field. All participating trade organizations conduct three to five year earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship training programs that teach service members everything they need to know to become a construction industry professional with a specialization in a particular craft. And, because these apprenticeship programs are regulated and approved at both federal and state levels, veterans can utilize their Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to supplement their income while they are learning valuable skills and on the job training.
In 2007, Helmets to Hardhats supplemented its existing program with a disabled American veteran program known as the "Wounded Warrior" program, which serves to connect disabled veterans with employment opportunities in the construction industry and the careers that support construction.