So, you are getting out, and you are unsure of what to do work-wise? Have you considered a career in construction? Did you know that you can sit for an OSHA 30 class and receive your card on the militaries dime? When I was leaving Ft.Bragg, through the ACAP program I found out I could attend a class at the community college for free. Another person I know in the NYC construction industry was able to get a chance to work for a company the last few months he was in to help him get a head start on the Helmet to Hardhats program. This guy had a great command, but the point is you can start laying the groundwork before you get out.
Did you know you can also get paid while in training? According to the Helmets to Hardhats website, “Most career opportunities offered by the program are connected to federally-approved apprenticeship training programs. Such training is provided by the trade organizations themselves at no cost to the veteran. No prior experience is needed; in fact, most successful placements start with virtually no experience in their chosen field. All participating trade organizations conduct three to five year earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship training programs that teach service members everything they need to know to become a construction industry professional with a specialization in a particular craft. And, because these apprenticeship programs are regulated and approved at both federal and state levels, veterans can utilize their Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to supplement their income while they are learning valuable skills and on the job training.”
Can you not attend an in-person OSHA 30 class? Clicksafety is another great resource that gives you an online class with a certification test at the end. You do have to pay for it, or if you get a job offer from a company, see if they can cover the cost of it. Safety has rapidly grown to be an in-demand job, as companies now have more incentives from insurance provider’s to be safety oriented on their sites. Site safety managers are responsible for the safety plans, conducting and enforcing safety spot checks on site, orientation and training, and being a liaison in certain cases between the construction company and the customer.
Maybe safety is not your thing. Then consider getting into the electrical trade, welding, mechanical/HVAC, or plumbing side of the house. By applying for the Helmets to Hardhats program, you can open your doors up to a very good life. On top of the great pay, construction is a vital industry with a constant shortage of skilled labor. When the lockdowns and shutdowns began, in the New York market jobs of crucial importance such as infrastructure, telecom, roads, hospital and medical and affordable housing projects stayed open or were the first ones to open back up.
According to Business Insider, the global construction industry is going to continue to grow by 9.2% by 2024. With the nation’s infrastructure either being replaced, upgraded, or new technologies being built, the industry is experiencing a growth in infrastructure construction right now.
Maybe you don’t want to be a skilled tradesman. Ok, so consider applying to a college to learn construction management, architecture, or engineering. The GI bill will cover your education, and pay you BAH while you attend school full time. While in school, leverage your education and veteran experience to intern with large General Contractors such as Turner, Tishman, Related companies, and Tutor Perini to name a few. Those experiences interning will help you get return offers the closer you are to graduation.
Lastly, there is the supply side of the construction industry. This is a tough area to break into to become a sales rep. For me, it consisted of gaining experience working on jobsites for an electrician doing installs of lights, systems, fire-alarms, and pulling cables. From there, I applied to HD Supply White Cap, now known as White Cap to the management training program, or as they call it the Career Development Program. This program allowed for me to learn both operations and sales from the ground up. During the intensive 12 months plus program, you work in the warehouse running shipping/receiving, then dispatch for a multi-million dollar a year store. Afterwards, you switch into Ops mgmt. or sales training, culminating with graduation and a job offer. At the end of the program, I parlayed my experience into a better offer with a smaller company, which allowed me to gain experience and be on the road. If you are entrepreneurial, want to be your own boss practically and make a salary and commission, outside sales is the way to go. But, to become a good sales rep you need to have determination and industry knowledge.
I hope this write up helps someone open the door to another career field they previously did not consider.