Driving design quality

Helmets to Hardhats exec: Veterans can help combat construction labor issues

Following coming again from deployment as an enlisted soldier, Martin Helms was battling. He had a younger spouse and children, perform, school and a armed service obligation. Then he sat in a five-minute presentation for Helmets to Hardhats and, as he tells it, his daily life improved.

“[Joining] the arranged trades was what I necessary to shift ahead and accomplish a large amount of plans,” Helms mentioned. 

Martin Helms

Authorization granted by Helmets to Hardhats


Helms eventually graduated from the Akron Space Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Schooling Committee (AAEJATC) turning into a journey-degree electrician in the Worldwide Brotherhood of Electrical Staff Area Union 306 and then a foreman. In 2017, Helms took on a new position as the coaching director of the AAEJATC.

As he labored his way up through the AAEJATC, Helms’ army career also progressed. In 2013, he grew to become a development engineer technician in the Ohio Army Nationwide Guard, making use of that abilities in deployments to the Middle East and ongoing condition missions.

Now, Helms is bringing his schooling, administration, armed forces and recruitment knowledge back again to the firm that aided give him a occupation route. He is using above as the executive director of the Helmets to Hardhats application, a nonprofit organization recognized in 2003. The Washington D.C.-based mostly program is administered by the Centre for Army Recruitment, Evaluation, and Veterans Work.

“Our mission is to recruit military veterans into the competent trades,” Helms said. “We do this in a selection of methods.”

Helmets to Hardhats targets military members that are transitioning out of comprehensive-time provider, Countrywide Guard customers and existing armed forces veterans. “It’s really much open up to any veteran with an honorable or clinical discharge,” Helms said.

The group receives the word out by likely to military services installations and operating with neighborhood groups. It has fostered interactions with the Division of Defense and the Division of Veterans Affairs.

Transiting to building

Support customers are properly geared up to transition to development, which involves adaptability mainly because “practically nothing goes as prepared,” according to Helms.

“Army persons are set in crappy conditions for a good deal of good reasons,” Helms claimed. “You don’t know what your natural environment is likely to be, and who you might be going to have to offer with. So you establish a mental capacity that helps make you adjust to regardless of what that atmosphere is to attain the mission.”

Company associates should really also have the energy and endurance to tackle sometimes physically demanding design employment. But the similarities in the two occupation paths do not close there.

“[Military members] are utilised to currently being there and at a specific time and having a occupation to do,” Helms reported. “That suits into the structure of the armed forces. You have to be there at a selected put and time to be ready to go. And you commonly know what has to be performed.”

The building trades can be an eye-catching vocation for company associates because they can use their positive aspects from the GI Bill with registered apprenticeship companies. For army customers who have to aid households, becoming in a position to generate revenue as a result of instruction is in particular helpful. 

“They get to accumulate their GI Bill and they can have that profits that everyone requires,” Helms mentioned.

As Helmets to Hardhats grows, Helms would like to focus on expansion in design management and administrative positions. 

“We also have to have to do excellent outreach,” Helms reported. “We have just gotten by 18 or 20 months of the pandemic and there are provider customers who need to have very good jobs.”