If drywall and flooring could talk, it’d probably have a dark story to tell about Wisconsin’s ongoing construction boom. Behind projects big and small, say people close to the industry, there thrives an underground economy made up of contractors who cheat their workers out of wages and benefits to deliver projects on time and under budget.
Last month, Mindy Mulryan, workforce development/project specialist with Construction Business Group, attended the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce event hosted by Entercom in Hales Corner. The panel topic was ‘Veterans in the Skilled Trades Workforce’. Panelists shared information on how they assist in transitioning veterans from military life to civilian work; how they connect with businesses that want to hire veterans; and how the union trades can offer the familiarity of teamwork, family and unity that they were a part of when in the military. Many of the panelists, veterans themselves, were able to speak from personal experiences and share stories of how the GI bill can be used with the apprenticeship program. It was also shared that some technical colleges are able to provide credit for military service, technical colleges that are also connected with the apprenticeship programs.
Leroy Miller, Business Agent for IUOE Local 139, and Dan Eckstrom, Human Resources Business Partner at Walbec Group, recently attended a National Guard Reintegration event in Milwaukee for 100 returning military members and their families.
Leroy and Dan, themselves both veterans, were able to share their personal stories and promote the great career opportunities available to veterans with Wisconsin Operating Engineers.
Badger Yellow Ribbon Support Specialist Matt Marose shared the following feedback:
“Even if folks don’t necessarily write it down, I want you to know I have heard VERY positive feedback regarding your brief and how raw and emotional it is. Most anyone can relate in one way, shape or form (myself included and I’m an Air Force guy). Keep up the GREAT WORK!
Struggles with work, substance abuse, and PTSD are at the heart of a majority of the issues throughout the DoD and I think the first-hand account you and your reps bring forth is invaluable. As a matter of fact one of our attendees said “Those guys are [. . .] awesome” when you were done briefing… and then one of my support staff members repeated that same phrase later in the day.
Watching the faces of the people in the room and all of the nods throughout the briefing, I know your message is well received. I appreciate the wonderful job you do and am thankful for your continued support.”
Thank you Leroy and Dan for sharing your personal stories and promoting the industry to our returning veterans.
A Great Career Choice for Veterans
The Wisconsin Operating Engineers, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, offers the Combat to Construction (“C2C”) program. The C2C program is designed to introduce Veterans, including currently serving Guard and Reserve Soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, to careers in the construction trades. Upon successful completion of a 2 to 3-week non-paid training program at the Operating Engineers’ training facility, the Veteran may receive full-time, paid employment opportunities within the State of Wisconsin as an Operating Engineer apprentice. As an apprentice, a Veteran has access to a well-respected training program, a progressive, family-sustaining wage scale with benefits, and a career as an Operating Engineer.