The Massachusetts Building Trades Council (MassBTC) held its third annual Helmets to Hardhats Luncheon November 7 at the Massachusetts State House. MassBTC met its goal of raising more than $65,000 for the Helmets to Hardhats program, topping last year’s event which raised over $50,000.

Members of more than a dozen locals joined Helmets to Hardhats graduates and state officials to celebrate the extraordinary success of a unique program that matches veterans who have honorably served their country to new careers in the construction industry.

Helmets to Hardhats has a special connection to Boston – its founder, National Building Trades Council President Ed Sullivan, is a Boston native. This national non-profit, launched in 2003, has a long track record of connecting retired and transitioning active-duty military service members to careers in the Building Construction Trades Unions.

To date, more than 900 military service veterans have been trained and placed into rewarding, family-sustaining careers in Massachusetts alone. Since its inception in 2003, the program has helped connect over 25,000 veterans to careers nationally.

The program was started with the understanding that too often, there is no easy way for retired veterans to transition back into civilian life. Qualifications earned for skilled work in the military may not translate to comparable licenses or certifications in the civilian sector. Helmets to Hardhats aims to ease this process by providing a clear pathway to advance in a new career.

“We are honored to work with Helmets to Hardhats and to provide career opportunities for our returning veterans,” said Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council. “There will always be a place in the building trades for these brave men and women who epitomize sacrifice, selflessness, discipline, honor and commitment. They embody the values of our unions.”

“Every time I come to this event, I see more and more people willing to help. I see more and more people wanting to make sure that our veterans are taken care of,” said Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats. “It’s a win for everyone. You serve your country, you should have the ability to find a good career. You should have the ability to feed your family with honor and dignity. You should be able to retire with your head held high and be able to do whatever you want to do with your life. That’s what [Helmets to Hardhats] is offering you.”

Helmets to Hardhats gauges each applicant’s interests and skills and helps match them to an apprenticeship training program sponsored by the corresponding trade organization. Veterans are able to earn while they learn, therefore continuing to support their families while transitioning into their new careers.

Military service members are a dedicated, highly-skilled and hardworking group. The same is true of union building trades workers. Helmets to Hardhats allows veterans to easily channel their skills into new or similar fields in the Building Trades and continue with rewarding, hands-on work. Applicants have more than 14 building trades to choose from, all of which offer the good wages, industry-leading benefits, and retirement packages that military families need when a loved one is transitioning back home.

Are you or someone you know interested in jump starting your career through Helmets to Hardhats?

Visit to learn more and apply.

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