LANSING, Mich. — It's no secret, there's an employment crisis in the skilled trades industry, but here in Michigan, leaders are putting $1 million toward a program aimed at getting service members into the construction trades industry.
It's a program called Helmets to Hardhats that operates all over the country.
In Michigan, the initiative is getting a big boost this year with a $1 million grant from the state.
The money allows the organization to have a Michigan representative dedicated to recruitment and training.
Hundreds of people will be impacted.
"The target is 338 in that three-year period. I think we have the ability to to exceed the target. We've been operating in Michigan for almost 20 years. This just gives us the opportunity to do it better," said Executive Director Martin Helms.
That means former servicemen like Ryan Hazlett can learn a construction trade that pays at least $35 an hour.
"I make more money than I ever have doing something that I enjoy doing. It's rewarding to watch a building go up and be a part of it," said Hazlett.
The apprenticeships take up to four years to complete and pays from day one.
"There's five different trades that we train for. Brick, block and stone is one. Then, masonry restoration, which we call pointing, cleaning and caulking. Then, there's tile, marble, terrazo, cement, finishing and refractory," said Howard Hipes of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
Former Army serviceman Matthew Ellis says the lessons he's learned are invaluable.
"How to use these hands and a level," said Ellis.
If you'd like to learn more about H2H, we have more info here - Helmets to Hardhats.
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