Veterans and unions share many of the same values – commitment, dedication, quality, service. It’s no surprise that so many veterans find their next step in trade unions. And in Minnesota, this is truer than in any other state in the United States. We can take pride in knowing we have the highest concentration of veterans in the construction workforce and veteran-owned construction firms.
What does that look like in action? When US Bank Stadium was built, the Vikings and state legislature created workforce participation goals for women and minorities. They wanted to make sure a diverse group of people were creating this Minnesota landmark. Not included on that list was veteran participation goals, yet despite that, 5% of workers on the project were veterans. That’s a rate even higher than found in the general Minnesota population under 65.
We can thank programs like Helmets to Hardhats for that. They help veterans transition back into civilian life by providing training and resources for success in the construction industry. Through hands-on apprenticeship programs, veterans can gain new skills in an industry that shares their values and standards and gives them a similar sense of camaraderie with a team working toward a common goal.
Beyond the training, meaningful work, and quality benefits, unions are giving back to our veterans. Take the Teamsters Local 120’s latest tradition, the Homes For Our Troops Member Appreciation Picnic. All proceeds from their annual picnic go to Homes For Our Troops, a non-profit that builds and donates specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans. This year, they raised $50,000 to help give a veteran an accessible place to call home.
Veterans and construction unions go hand-in-glove. So as Veteran’s Day approaches, we salute all veterans and thank our members who have served.