Versions of this article appeared in State House News Service, Taunton Gazette, Fall River Herald News, Banker & Tradesman, Roslindale Transcript, and Tewksbury Advocate.

BOSTON – Ahead of Veterans Day, Massachusetts building trades unions and union contractors honored the vast contributions of our local veterans today at a State House event, raising more than $65,000 for the life-changing career pathways program Helmets to Hardhats.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national nonprofit that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with meaningful, family-sustaining careers in the union building trades. The Massachusetts Building Trades Council is a longtime supporter of the program, which has placed nearly 900 military veterans in union construction jobs statewide since 2007.

“We are honored to work with Helmets to Hardhats and to provide career opportunities for our returning veterans,” said Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council. “There will always be a place in the building trades for these brave men and women who epitomize sacrifice, selflessness, discipline, honor and commitment. They embody the values of our unions.”

The Massachusetts building trades unions represent the largest workforce in the state, with more than 75,000 men and women holding great jobs and benefits with the union building trades, and nearly 250,000 children, spouses, and workers covered by their high-quality union health plans. Their programs such as Build a Life and Building Pathways help ensure everyone can benefit from well-paying careers in the union construction trades, including women, people of color and returning veterans.

“Every time I come to this event, I see more and more people willing to help. I see more and more people wanting to make sure that our veterans are taken care of,” said Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats. “It’s a win for everyone. You serve your country, you should have the ability to find a good career. You should have the ability to feed your family with honor and dignity. You should be able to retire with your head held high and be able to do whatever you want to do with your life. That’s what [Helmets to Hardhats] is offering you.”

The partnership between Massachusetts Building Trades Council and Helmets to Hardhats has been so successful because both organizations are committed to creating new employment opportunities and ongoing career advancement through extensive training. The Massachusetts building trades unions spent $55 million last year alone to ensure workers at every phase of their career had free, world-class training and expertise.

“The Helmets to Hardhats program is a great resource for the young men and women coming out of the military today, and a great resource for the building trades to gain qualified, disciplined people with a proven work ethic,” said Peter Carpenter, a National Guard veteran who teaches apprentices with Operating Engineers Local 4 based in Medway.

“You flourished in the military, you flourished protecting us and now you’re going to flourish on the home front, thanks to the building trades and this wonderful program,” echoed State Senator Walter Timilty of Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth.

ABOUT THE MASSACHUSETTS BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL

For nearly 100 years, the Massachusetts Building Trades Council (MBTC) has been dedicated to helping working people improve their quality of life. The organization is comprised of 74 member locals representing over 75,000 working men and women across the state.

For more information: http://massbuildingtrades.org/

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