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 apprenticeships. The partnership has since been actively recruiting veterans in both the United States and Canada and has seen tremendous results and surpassed expectations.
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, a total of nine vets for 2016. Since then, INSTALL has surpassed the goal, placing 19 veterans. Due to the program’s overwhelming success, INSTALL will shoot for securing 36 H2H sponsorships in the next year. Currently, more than 100 vets have shown interest in an apprenticeship and INSTALL is actively working to connect them to contractors for possible career opportunities throughout the next year.
H2H operates in both the United States 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 profession in the construction industry.
INSTALL is a quality 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.
Frank Koch, president of Floorlayers Local 251 emphasized the great benefits the partnership brings. “With an average of 10,000 baby boomers retiring everyday across the nation, the need to backfill the labor pool is at an all-time high. If we can bring vets who are dedicated with a great work ethic into the floorcovering ecosystem then it’s a win-win for INSTALL, H2H and the industry.”
Tim Thieme, an IKORCC INSTALL representative thinks the hardest thing to do is sell labor you have no control over. “With INSTALL training and certification we know the vets are getting the experience they need to help contractors compete and offer the best of the best flooring installations in the industry.”
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. Taylor Thompson, an H2H vet in his first year of the program, said he is receiving the most professional training he has ever experienced. Before entering the program Thompson worked as a residential flooring installer, so he is no stranger to the industry. “Anyone can claim that they know how to install flooring, but no one does it like INSTALL. I choose the H2H program to establish a career path and become the best at what I do by training with the best. So far, the training is unrivaled.”
John T. McGrath Jr. executive director of INSTALL added, “We can’t do enough for anyone who fights for our country, but we can continue to open doors for vets through the INSTALL and H2H program.”
INSTALL contractors that would like to support this partnership must commit to sponsoring a veteran in the INSTALL apprenticeship program and hiring him or her. For this commitment, contractors will be recognized as partners of Helmets to Hardhats. Once a contractor has committed to the program by contacting INSTALL, H2H will match the company with potential candidates for the position.