PRIME MINISTER HARPER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR HELMETS TO HARDHATS PROGRAM

EDMONTON – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support for Helmets to Hardhats, a program that will help provide Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and Reservists access to a range of careers within the construction industry, including apprenticeships in various building trades.

“Our Government is working hard to provide our dedicated military personnel, past and present, with the care, services, and financial support they need and deserve,” said Prime Minister Harper.  “We are truly proud to be part of the Helmets to Hardhats program which will help provide jobs and training opportunities for our brave Veterans, members of the Canadians Armed Forces and Reservists interested in transitioning to a career in the construction industry. The program will promote employment and economic growth while helping to meet labour needs in this sector.”

Helmets to Hardhats, a partnership with Canada’s Building Trades Unions, is an innovative partnership that brings union, private and public sector resources together to provide Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Reservists with exclusive access to jobs and training opportunities in the construction industry, including administrative, engineering, human resources and onsite positions. The program will also stimulate growth by helping fill the much needed employment gap in the construction industry.

Candidates will be able to access information about careers and apprenticeships by telephone and from a newly developed Web site beginning in the spring of 2012. Veterans will be able to use the Helmets to Hardhats Web site to identify opportunities that interest them, and match their skill sets in the construction industry.

The Helmets to Hardhats program builds on existing programs under the New Veterans Charter which provides Veterans with the necessary support as they make the change from military to civilian life.

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 Background

The Government of Canada is contributing $150,000 through Veteran Affairs Canada’s Community Engagement Partnership Fund to support Helmets to Hardhats, a program that brings union, private and public sector resources together to help provide Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and Reservists access to a range of careers within the construction industry including apprenticeships in various building trades. The program is modeled after the Helmets to Hardhats program in the United States, established in 2003.

The Helmets to Hardhats Canada program, a partnership with Canada’s Building Trades Unions, will benefit Veterans and Canadians by:

• Providing transitioning Veterans with exclusive access to jobs and training opportunities in the construction industry, where they can apply the skills they developed in the Canadian Armed Forces ;
• Helping them provide for their families and to contribute to their communities in a new way;
• Helping to meet labour needs in the construction sector; and
• Helping to generate employment that continues to fuel Canada’s long-term economic growth.

The Government’s contribution to the program will serve to assist with start-up costs including website development and promotional materials. In Canada, the program is set to begin in the spring of 2012.

The private sector is also an important partner in the program. To date, TransCanada Corporation has committed $1 million over 5 years to help strengthen the link between active military duty and civilian careers in the construction trades industry. Other private sector partners are also being sought.

The Helmets to Hardhats program complements existing programs available through Veterans Affairs Canada to help Veterans transition to civilian life:

• The Career Transition Services program, which is offered in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces, helps Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans re-enter the civilian workforce by providing services that focus on three principal areas: job-search training, individual career counseling and job-finding assistance.
• The Rehabilitation Program provides a range of rehabilitation services, including vocational assistance, to medically releasing Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans who have service-related rehabilitation needs.