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Military training and experience are a great match for the construction industry. This is especially important in a time when many contractors have difficulty filling job openings.

Construction contractors looking to add to their teams often seek job candidates who are hard-working, safety-oriented and able to perform effectively under stressful conditions. Construction can be a natural fit for men and women transitioning from military to civilian life, and looking to join an industry that offers high wages and competitive benefits.

Veterans have demonstrated to have a base of skills valued by construction companies. These include wheeled/tracked vehicle mechanics, ground support equipment technicians, as well as repairmen and maintainers. Veterans have shown themselves to be able to overcome adversity in the field and in construction. They value team work, which is essential for safe, productive worksites and understand how to demonstrate and respond to leadership.

Many veterans have developed craft-specific skills during their time in the armed services that are valuable in construction. These skills often include experience with equipment, such as large vehicles, generators, blowers, heaters and compressors. This familiarity can lead to positions including equipment operators, service technicians, mechanics, drivers and more.

Safety is instilled in military personnel from day one, whether it’s through weekly briefings, familiarization with equipment or training. Successful construction companies have strong safety cultures, which are critical at busy worksites and when operating equipment. They want to hire people who have situational awareness, are safety-focused and understand the dangers.

Here are three steps contractors can take to support service men and women and veterans looking to work in the construction industry.

Use a Military Skills Translator

While some military-based skills are easily transferable, others, like infantry or combat experience, may be tougher to leverage. That’s where adding a tool like a military skills translator to a contractor website can help. These online tools allow service members and veterans to input their military occupation code (MOC) and receive an instant list of open positions that match their various skills and attributes. Companies can customize a military translator to Military Occupational Specialties across all branches, and identify those that would fit and what roles they would likely translate into. The tools can totally change the job-seeking experience for service members and veterans, helping them to find employment matches that may not be immediately obvious.

Attend Job Fairs

Construction companies can participate in job fairs that target military personnel and veterans. Recruiters can also engage with employment outreach programs such as Work for Warriors and Hiring our Heroes, as well as programs offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Consider Work-Study Programs

Contractors can provide work-study programs that help veterans transition into civilian working life. These programs deliver job-readiness instruction including a mix of intensive technical training and corporate skills training. They give veterans a solid underpinning of workplace expectations and enable them to assimilate into new roles more quickly and effectively than traditional routes to employment.

For example, United Rentals partnered with Workforce Opportunity Services to develop the Service to Employment Program (STEP). The program offers 10 weeks of in-class and hands-on training, where veterans learn technical and social skills, meet with company leaders and experience what it’s like to work at a United Rentals branch.

Veterans can be a great fit for construction companies because they have a foundation of skills that are strong assets at the worksite. Many people with military experience have traits and qualities contractors look for in new hires: loyalty, integrity, dedication, service excellence and a focus on safety. It’s a smart move for companies to build on what veterans have learned in the military to address hiring needs with skilled, motivated people.

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