Partnership Opens Door for Army Reserve, Guard Construction Jobs
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2009 A partnership forged today with the Helmets to Hardhats organization promises to translate into construction careers for reserve-component soldiers.
Helmets to Hardhats officially joined the Army Reserve’s Employer Partnership Initiative during a Pentagon signing ceremony today. The arrangement will open the door for the Army Guard and Army Reserve to share the same talent pool with about 80,000 civilian employers in the construction industry.
Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, who launched the Employer Partnership Initiative in April 2008, said today’s ceremony took the effort to a new level in two ways. It will create a pathway to apprenticeships and training programs leading to a broad range of construction jobs – all through an organization that “has been a great friend to the military,” he said.
For the first time, the partnership also will include the Army National Guard. Stultz called the new partnership agreement a first step toward eventually broadening the program to include every service’s reserve components.
Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty members with career training and employment within 15 building and construction trades unions and nine leading construction contractor associations.
Darrell Roberts, a former sailor and National Guardsman who serves as the initiative’s executive director, said the new partnership benefits civilian employers, too.
“It will help us get the word out [to members of the Reserve and Guard] about these quality careers in the construction industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said, it will help employers tap into employees who “bring a can-do attitude and a sense of responsibility, who arrive on time, who understand the chain of command and who are there to work.
“They make great employees, and give 100 percent,” Roberts continued. “Everybody I work with can’t get enough of them.”
Stultz called the new partnership with Hardhats to Helmets a natural fit because it takes advantage of the skill sets many soldiers already have – and that employers are looking for.
“Our vision in the Army Reserve is to become an organization that is looked upon as one of the premier organizations that develops talent and capability for America,” he said.
The Employer Partnership initiative allows reserve-component soldiers to apply their civilian training and experience to their military jobs, Stultz said. “And we, in turn, will return them back to you with more confidence, more leadership, and hopefully, a better work ethic that you, in turn, get to take advantage of,” he told the employer representatives.
Meanwhile, the partnerships help generate the employer support Stultz called critical to the reserve components’ success.
“You really are providing this nation a strategy of how to maintain a well-trained and ready military for the future,” he told the employer representatives. “I look forward to collaborating with our newest valued partner to achieve mutual goals to attract, develop and retain a quality workforce.”
Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, said he’s excited about the opportunities the program will open up to Guard troops.
“The men and women of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve are highly motivated, seasoned professionals, and some of the highest-caliber potential employees for private industry,” Carpenter said. “This program is good for our soldiers, local communities and the nation.”