TRENTON – The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said on Wednesday it will give $190,000 to the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council’s (NJBCTC) Helmets to Hardhats program.
The Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program enables National Guard, reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military members to connect to career and training opportunities in the construction industry.
The program could help stanch persistent job placement problems that affect some military veterans. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of post-Sept. 11 veterans is 9.5 percent, higher than the overall joblessness rate of 8.2 percent, as of last month.
LWD Commissioner Harold Wirths made the announcement regarding the H2H funds at NJBCTC’s Annual Convention at Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
“We are grateful for the strong support Governor Christie and Commissioner Wirths have given to our Helmets to Hardhats program. With the state funding we received last year, we doubled the number of veterans we initially anticipated on placing into accredited apprenticeship programs,” said William T. Mullen, president of the NJBCTC, in a statement. “We hope to be equally as successful this year in giving quality careers to the men and women who sacrificed so much for our nation.”
The state H2H program set out last year to place 24 veterans into apprenticeship programs, but wound up placing 47 veterans. This year, the program is again targeting 24 veterans. Operated by the NJBCTC, the program targets members of the military who are seeking a job, or want a better one.
The NJBCTC, a partnership of 13 county building trades councils, more than 100 local unions and more than 150,000 rank-and-file members, educates program participants about the demands of the industry’s careers and places apprentices at various worksites.
Most active and reserve military personnel have high school diplomas or GEDs, a requirement of most trade apprentice programs.
To become eligible, candidates must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration, among other requirements.