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Hard Workers Are Not Extinct…They’ve Been Busy Serving the Country

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Every employer wants reliable workers whose skills closely match the requirements of the job, but often, a deep pool of talent is overlooked. Consider the enormous resources the military has poured into service members, turning them into leaders able to solve problems and meet tough challenges. It only makes sense to tap into that training.

While the HVAC industry seldom has a shortage of customer demand, they do have an ongoing need for qualified, reliable workers to meet that demand. That’s why many HVAC company owners are seeking to hire veterans.

What’s so special about veterans?

Retired Navy Chaplain Lonnie V. Scott (who also served in the Air Force and currently works with ex-military personnel in the private sector), describes veterans this way. They are:

• Generally in good to outstanding physical condition and most try to maintain that condition after the military.

• Loyal to those in authority over them, and self-motivated to accomplish a task without close supervision.

• Punctual, unlikely to take unauthorized breaks, sneak out early or call in sick on Monday morning after a weekend bender.

• Policy and procedure-oriented, therefore not apt to question your right to direct their work.

• Well-trained in job planning and strong in occupational safety, for themselves and others.

• Focused on the task at hand.

• Generally able to work well even in difficult environments, such as on ships, in the desert, and often with limited supplies.

While civilians sometimes view veterans as averse to change, Scott said the opposite is actually true. Adaptation is a regular part of military life, as so much is subject to change, like commands, locations, assignments. It’s challenging, said Scott, “ But challenges are in their nature.”

Caveats: Scott added that veterans, whose military careers depend heavily on routine may find it hard when those routines are altered. And, while an ex-serviceperson is generally willing to bring a less efficient coworker up to speed, tolerating laziness does not come easy for veterans.

So how do you find qualified veterans?

You can always contact the local Veterans Affairs office or state vocational rehab office to find office workers, apprentices, and technicians. Some employers report having good luck with traditional advertising and by listing jobs with the unemployment office. But one company, Trademasters Service Corp., in the Washington, D.C. metro area, has found great success by setting out to become the employer of choice for veterans.

Located near military facilities, Trademasters takes advantage of veteran job fairs held on the bases, as well as job fairs sponsored by not-for-profit agencies which support veterans. Dave Kyle, General Manager of Trademasters, said his company understands the value of a veteran and will do what it takes to attract them. Trademasters offers a state-approved apprentice program, which is also certified through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This means veterans can receive education benefit payments, which supplement their income while they are apprentices. Once they complete the program, Kyle said, the veteran’s income rises to be on par with HVAC professionals.

“Our industry offers fantastic opportunities for a veteran looking for a challenging, financially rewarding, high-tech career making homes and buildings more comfortable, healthy, safe, and energy efficient.”

As a heads-up, Kyle reminds employers that, military or civilian, it is still critical to check references and do the usual background and driving checks, and drug screens. But, he adds, the veterans he’s hired for his office and for the apprentice program have proven reliable, capable, confident, personable, and sharp. “We just never had a single bad experience hiring a veteran.”

That’s a hard recommendation to beat.

Teresa Ambord

Posted In: ACCA Now, Management

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