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Helmets To Hardhats Connects Returning Vets To Silicon Valley Construction Jobs

SANTA CLARA (KCBS) — Helmets to Hardhats, a nationally recognized program, is working with the Silicon Valley construction trade to train veterans for jobs.

According to the organization, a large number of people will be leaving the Armed Forces over the next two years, many of them looking for work as the military downsizes.

Former Army mechanic Chandra Sevey is one of those taking advantage of the program. Sevey said she got into a sheet metal apprenticeship after being turned down numerous times for jobs.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

"Actually I gave up. I was married and stayed home with my son. I went to school at night for a couple of years and I was finally able to find work. I was laid off and then Swords to Plowshares, it was a veteran's organization out of Oakland to help me get connected to the trades," Sevey explained.

Darrell Roberts, executive director of the Helmets to Hardhats program said veterans are good candidates for construction jobs and explained why.

"In the military you have these chains of command, [camaraderie], you have bonds with these people that you work with. For me, in construction it's very similar. You have a structure of how things are and you're working side-by-side with someone to achieve an objective," he said.

Roberts said many vets don't realize that they can use their G.I. Bill to pay for vocational training and that the non-profit program has helped connect nearly 15,000 vets with the construction industry over the last decade.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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