Boston – Ahead of Veterans Day, Massachusetts Building Trades Unions (MBTU) and union contractors honored the contributions of local veterans, raising more than $40,000 for the career pathways program Helmets to Hardhats.
Helmets to Hardhats is a national nonprofit that connects National Guard, Reserve, and transitioning active-duty military members with meaningful, family-sustaining careers in the union building trades. MBTU is a longtime supporter of the program, which has placed nearly 900 military veterans in union construction jobs statewide since 2007.
“It is a privilege to partner with Helmets to Hardhats and extend career opportunities to our returning veterans,” said Frank Callahan, president of MBTU. “The building trades are a steadfast home for these remarkable individuals who personify sacrifice, selflessness, discipline, honor, and dedication.”
“Helmets to Hardhats is an invaluable resource and program for veterans seeking meaningful career transitions,” said Dr. Andrea Gayle-Bennett, deputy secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans Services. “This initiative plays a vital part in linking our service men and women with life-changing opportunities in union construction and building trades, helping veterans find stable, well-paying jobs with secure retirement benefits and family-sustaining wages.”
Representatives of the MBTU say the partnership between the organization and Helmets to Hardhats has been successful because both organizations are committed to creating new employment opportunities and ongoing career advancement through extensive training. MBTU spent $55 million last year alone to ensure workers at every phase of their career had free, world-class training and expertise.
“As a 5th-year apprentice with Local 103, I wanted to continue to be challenged and pursued a career in electrical construction, despite having no prior experience,” said James Overstreet. “The Marine Corps instilled the values of looking out for one another and ensuring everyone’s safety, and I’ve found that same mindset in union-building trades. The camaraderie and support here are hard to find elsewhere, and I’ve had the privilege of learning from great mentors who have shared their skills, knowledge, and wisdom with me.”