Veterans often find themselves facing new challenges when transitioning to civilian life. Unemployment among post-9/11 veterans historically exceeds the national average and the overall average of veterans. Some of these differences may be explained by the fact that the transition from the military to civilian life is often accompanied by a job search plus a related period of unemployment.
However, there are other possible explanations for the historically above average unemployment rate among veterans. They have important skills that transfer to civilian jobs, yet those skills may not be communicated in civilian language or accompanied by the proper certifications. These may result in veterans underemployed in jobs they are overqualified for or unemployed altogether. With its Hire a Hero program, GAF (North America’s largest roofing manufacturer) and its partner, ProTrain, attempt to remedy this situation by training veterans for careers in roofing installation. These sorts of veterans training programs have been adopted by many companies in other fields. They may be why current unemployment for veterans is at record lows, even lower than the national average.
AF Is Stepping Up to Help!
The GAF Roofing Academy provides a comprehensive steep-slope roofing primer and a high-level introduction to commercial roofing. The graduates of the program receive OSHA 10 and GAF CARE certifications. Completion of the program signals to roofing employers that the graduates have the proper entry-level skills for a roofing installation job.
On March 9, 2018, Chase Construction NW, Inc. attended the graduation ceremony of the Class of 1-18, and experienced the positive energy of all in attendance. The ceremony was relatively informal and the atmosphere friendly. The commitment to the program by ProTrain and GAF personnel and volunteers is remarkable! Kenneth Garcy, the instructor, was described as putting in so much time that he’s emailing at 1:00 AM!
Following the ceremony, we engaged in a group discussion about what it takes to succeed in the roofing industry, what the graduates can expect throughout their careers, benefits of a roofing career, and how to manage difficulties that may arise. My takeaway from the experienced roofers was that as long as you never lie, cheat, or steal, and as long as you work hard, you can have a very rewarding career as a roofer.
Veterans Getting the Training They Need!
In the 2 years of the program, the GAF Roofing Academy has had 35 graduates. The program’s strength resides in the Pacific Northwest, and there is a tremendous amount of room for growth here and throughout the country. Though there may be multiple reasons for the historically above average rate of unemployment for post-911 veterans, the kind of work done in the GAF Roofing Academy addresses some of the most important ones. Many young veterans have competence levels surpassing civilians of the same age. They have the skills, work ethic, and temperament that employers are looking for, yet they frequently lack desired credentials. The GAF Roofing Academy solves for this by training veterans and giving them the right credentials. The academy also provides community and guidance to the graduates, be they for work-related, personal, or job search reasons.
This story originally Chase Construction NW blog. It is being posted here with their permission.