On August 3, fifteen different construction companies gathered at Fort Polk, La. to speak about their experiences making the transition from military service into the construction sector.
Companies representing on the industrial construction side included Bechtel, CB&I, KBR, Jacobs Engineering, Cajun Industries, Performance Contractors, Turner Industries, UPS Industrial Services, along with Marek and Adaptive Construction Solutions, which trains soldiers to become NCCER-accredited ironworkers on the commercial construction side.
Cheniere was the only owner-company in attendance, since their partnership with Bechtel to establish an innovative welding program at Fort Polk has enjoyed so much success in transitioning soldiers to craft industrial workers.
All of these companies serve on the Construction Industry Advisory Board for NextOp, a Houston-based organization that helps recruit, train, and place high-performing middle-enlisted leaders into the energy and construction sectors in the Gulf Coast region.
The board meets quarterly to discuss ideas on how to pipeline more military into the construction sector, how to help positively impact military credentialing policy by partnering with SAME, and to have a better awareness of what opportunities and projects are coming together for each partner. It’s not a competitive atmosphere but one of collaboration as all companies are united in the mission to recruit more veterans into the industry.
Fort Hood will be the group’s next target as one of the largest bases in the world that boasts the largest population of transitioning soldiers – over sixteen thousand a year – and home to six Army Engineering Battalions.
Fort Hood transitions 250 soldiers per week on average and many do not know how much potential exists in transitioning to a career in construction. NextOp’s job is to help educate these soldiers by engaging them on base via job fairs, employer briefings, and by coordinating industry visits with the transition assistance program leadership.
NextOp doesn’t want the industry or your company to hire veterans because you think it’s the “right” thing to do. We want you to hire veterans because it makes your jobsites more productive, safe, and team-oriented. Together we will all help build a better future by pipelining more military talent into our industry.
If you’d like to get involved with NextOp’s Construction Advisory Board or participate in an upcoming industry day or job fair, please email them at [email protected] or go online to register as a Corporate Partner by logging onto www.nextopvets.org.