A broad coalition of construction industry employers and associations pledged Feb. 10 to hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years. The announcement was made at a special event at the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. A National Symposium: Veterans’ Employment in Construction was cosponsored by the department and Joining Forces, a White House-led national Initiative to assist military families, and featured Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and First Lady Michelle Obama.
“All men and women who have sacrificed for our country in our armed services deserve opportunities for good jobs worthy of their character and their achievements,” Secretary Perez said. “The Department of Labor will do whatever it takes to help our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs, and I am inspired by the commitment displayed today by the construction industry and all our partners in helping to achieve that mission.”
In a corresponding op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Mrs. Obama said of the construction companies who made the pledge to hire more veterans, “They made this commitment not just because it’s the patriotic thing to do, and not just because they want to repay our veterans for their service to our country, but because they know that it’s the smart thing to do for their business.”
The timing of the pledge makes sense: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., so more skilled workers will be needed over the next several years.