‘They’ve defended America, now let’s help them build it’: Experts talk combating construction labor shortage with veterans

Returning to civilian life from military service can be rocky. Veterans forge myriad skills while serving, but it can be challenging to tailor that expertise to nonmilitary jobs and even harder to use it to launch a career.

Yet the construction industry’s labor shortage is only intensifying, and experts say that veterans often have experience suitable for not only jobs in construction, but careers.

Some companies and associations in the industry even go out of their way to recognize veterans’ talents and offer hands-on training to transition former enlisted personnel into good-paying construction jobs. United Rentals says that it is one of those companies. Albert Hernandez, a United Rentals San Antonio branch manager, said that, based on his experience in 2009, leaving the armed forces can be sudden and uncertain.

“Literally, it’s almost over night,” Hernandez, a Marine, told Construction Dive. “You wake up and you’re a civilian again.” The transition feels so jarring because of the immediate lack of the regimented structure the military offers, he said.

To attract veterans like Hernandez, United Rentals implemented the Service to Employment Program (STEP), a 10-week program that gives veterans 120 hours of hands-on training with equipment and machinery at a United Rentals facility in Dallas.

Continue reading “‘They’ve defended America, now let’s help them build it’: Experts talk combating construction labor shortage with veterans”