The Alabama AGC is sponsoring in cooperation with Auburn University a construction-specific job fair – Veterans2Construction — for those with military experience at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss. on August 6, 2014.
Also, the Associated General Contractors of America is joining the national Hiring Our Heroes program as part of the construction industry’s effort to add 100,000 veterans during the next five years. The new partnership will make it easier for construction contractors to find, recruit and hire veterans, association officials added.
The goal of the Veterans2Construction initiative is to create a permanent pipeline for separating military service members to enter the construction industry. In doing so, the Veterans2Construction program will help veterans find meaningful, construction-related careers and serve as a key workforce development strategy for the construction industry.
Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport was chosen as the first site for a construction-specific job fair. It is the homeport for the Atlantic Seabees, the Navy’s construction force. Gulfport was selected because it is the home base of four (4) Naval Mobile Construction Battalions. Each Naval Construction Battalion has approximately 600 officer and enlisted personnel, the majority of which are construction trained. Seabee Battalion personnel have the following skills:
Navy Title: Construction Skills
Builders: Carpenters, masons, concrete finishers
Engineering Aides: Surveyors, material testing, draftsmen
Steelworkers: Welders, steel erection, and rebar installation
Utilitiesmen: Plumbers, HVAC installation
Construction Electricians: Electricians, linemen, control systems
Equipment Operators: Heavy equipment operators and truck drivers
Construction Mechanics: Heavy equipment and automotive mechanics
Participating construction companies should find a high percentage of construction-trained and- skilled job candidates. It is anticipated that 200-300 Seabee personnel will attend the job fair. Air Force personnel from nearly Keesler Air Force Base will also be invited to attend.
AGC member firms are invited to sign up for the job fair at the earliest opportunity. Help to make this job fair a success for both veterans and the construction industry. To reserve a space, contact Josh Caton at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 205.451.1420.
Meanwhile, the AGC of America’s partnership with the national Hiring Our Heroes program will give members of the AGC of America access to veterans’ job fairs and other resources designed to streamline the process to recruit and employ veterans.
“The only thing keeping many of our members from hiring vets is figuring out how to find them,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “This new partnership will make it easier for construction firms to find, recruit and hire veterans.”
The association’s members, commercial and civil construction firms across the country, are committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans each year, Sandherr said. He added that the new partnership will give member firms access to job fairs and other recruiting tools operated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program.
The construction association official added that the new partnership comes at a time when two-thirds of construction firms report having a hard time finding skilled workers to fill positions. The partnership with Hiring Our Heroes will make it easier for firms to fill vacancies with highly qualified workers and will be a key part of the association’s Workforce Development Plan.
“Construction firms are always eager to hire veterans because they make such great professionals,” Sandherr said. “As the economy continues to expand our members will be looking to hire even more veterans than they already do.”
Sandherr added that construction firms already hire a significant number of veterans, noting that veterans are more likely to be hired in construction than non-veterans, according to federal employment data. But he added that many firms report having a hard time figuring out how to identify soldiers, sailors and airmen that are about to leave active duty and enter the private-sector workforce.
The association will begin distributing information to its members and state and local chapters about the new partnership, Sandherr said, and help recruit expanding construction firms to participate in job fairs and other hiring events organized by Hiring Our Heroes.