In April 2016, INSTALL and Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) forged a partnership calling on INSTALL contractors to sponsor veterans with the goal of bringing new skilled workers into the floorcovering industry through an apprenticeship program. The partnership has since been actively recruiting veterans in both the U.S. and Canada, and has seen tremendous results.
At the outset of the partnership INSTALL and H2H set a goal of enrolling at least one veteran into the INSTALL apprenticeship program per month in 2016. Since April, INSTALL has entered 13 veterans into the program, meeting its goal by 163% with a little over a month left in the year. Additionally, more than 80 vets have shown interest in an apprenticeship and INSTALL is connecting them to contractors for possible career opportunities.
“This is a situation where justice, patriotism, and good business are all served,” said John McGrath, executive director, INSTALL. “Our veterans are disciplined, team – and goal – oriented and deserve all the help in re entering civilian life that can be provided. INSTALL and our contractors appreciate their service in defending our freedom and liberties and are eager to embrace our veterans.”
H2H operates in both the U.S. and Canada with two complimentary, but independent programs that connect 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.
INSTALL is a training and certification program dedicated to putting highly skilled floorcoverers to work in an industry that is suffering from a shortage in skilled labor. The two programs, recognizing the great potential to help each other, established the partnership with the ultimate goal of putting more veterans to work.
“H2H is a fantastic program and has been a huge hit,” Thomas Sommers, training director of Thomas C. Ober Carpenters Training Center, said. “We have and always will, welcome and support all applicants from our Armed Forces. We have a special provision that allows an H2H applicant to jump to the top of the list during the application process.”
The partnership is gaining traction throughout the U.S. and Canada and is successfully bringing veterans into the workforce with the right skills and training. Veterans are able to apply to the program year-round and INSTALL is helping them succeed in all stages of the program, from application to completion.
“Entering the H2H program was a broadening experience,” said Tim Guinns, floorcovering installer at Strahm Inc. “I learned new skills and new ways of dealing with people, a sharp contrast from military routine. Through H2H I was put on the fast track in the INSTALL apprenticeship program to become a journeyman and was able to develop the skills I needed to perform in the field.”
“The program has helped me to support my family and become recognized as a professional,” Guinns continued. “Because I have INSTALL training, people notice and that goes a long way.”
Derek Palase, a new Northeast Regional Council INSTALL apprentice will start his apprenticeship in the coming weeks. “I’ve had experience with a lot of different jobs, but have never considered entering a trade,” Palase said. “I know a lot of union workers and they are all experts in their field. This opportunity will develop my floorcovering skills allowing me to become an expert as well.”