Helmets to Hardhats, Veterans In Piping programs offer opportunities to transition to civilian trade careers
By TIM ROWDEN
Eureka, MO – The Rockwood Labor Club participated in a “Veterans Open House Stand Down” program for returning veterans and active duty military service members June 17 at the Eureka-Pacific Elks Lodge.
Labor Club members manned a booth to relay information about North America’s Building Trades Unions’ “Helmets to Hardhats” program and the United Association’s VIP (Veterans In Piping) program, both of which help veterans apply the skills they’ve developed in the service in combination with union training for a civilian career.
Rockwood Labor Club President Marty McClimens (Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562) said club members were eager to participate.
“This is the second year we’ve done this,” McClimens said. “We want to get this information out to the veterans, but the challenge is getting the veterans here. There’s a lot of resources out there for our military people, but connecting them with those resources is what seems hard to do.”
HELMETS TO HARDHATS
The national, nonprofit Helmets to Hardhats program connects 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. You can find out more about the Helmets to Hardhats program at helmetstohardhats.org.
VETERANS IN PIPING
The Veterans In Piping (VIP) program is a unique, nationwide effort by the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA) to help returning veterans obtain job skills, and help journeymen upgrade the skills needed for specific jobs.
The program helps equip military service members preparing to leave the service with sought-after skills that can lead to lifelong careers in the increasingly in-demand pipe trades. Through 18-week accelerated courses – provided free of cost on military bases across the country – VIP participants earn industry-recognized certifications and a direct entry into solid private-sector jobs with good pay and benefits. You can find out more about the Veterans In Piping program at ua.org/veterans.
GETTING VETS THE BENEFITS THEY DESERVE
Also participating in the Open House Stand Down were representatives from the Veterans Administration (VA), St. Louis County veterans service groups and the St. Louis County Division of Workforce Development.
Veterans were provided information on VA benefits, enrollment and mental health services, treatment and counseling programs, support groups, family services, housing, employment and educational opportunities.
Eureka-Pacific Elks Veterans Committee Chairman Mike Jeffries, a Vietnam veteran, said the event was open to all veterans and active duty military to provide them with the assistance they might need in transitioning to civilian life.
“We’re trying to get information out to our veterans,” Jeffries said. “It’s one of the things that needs to be done to get our veterans the benefits that they deserve.”
For more information on veterans’ benefits, visit benefits.va.gov/StLouis.