There are 1.8 million veterans residing in the state of California, the largest veteran population in the country (2016 California Department of Veterans Affairs). Younger veterans—those who began service after September 11, 2001—make up 15 percent of California’s veteran population (120,000 total).
Despite recent improvements, the unemployment rate for returning veterans in California continues to exceed the state average, and is even higher for female veterans (California State Council of Society for Human Resource Management).
In 2017, USC’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families issued “The State of the American Veteran: The San Francisco Veterans Study,” the fourth comprehensive research study of a local military population — and third in California. The research found that nearly a quarter of returning veterans were earning an annual income at or below the U.S. poverty level. Los Angeles County had about 325,000 veterans, more than anywhere else in the state. Eight in 10 reported that they did not have a job when they returned to civilian life.
California’s aggregate and construction industry produces the materials that build the roads, bridges and related infrastructure needed to move goods and people.
The aggregate and construction industry is one of California’s largest sectors, with over one million total direct jobs. Population growth and continuing economic recovery will continue to fuel industry job creation as well as the need for extensive repair and expansion of transportation infrastructure across the state. With hundreds of openings for good, family wage jobs on any given day, the construction and building materials industry can play an important and ongoing role in recruiting and hiring military veterans to fill jobs essential to keep California moving.
Rock, sand, gravel and Ready Mix concrete facilities offer a wide and diverse set of job and careers, including everything from harvesting natural materials to building roads and highways to working construction crews, engineers, heavy equipment operators and project managers, estimators, surveyors and safety operators.
With such a variety of job applications, former military service members can find the move into the construction industry not only appealing, but a good match with the skills they learned while serving our country—from discipline to leadership to hands-on work—providing a solid foundation for building a career in the industry. Enlisted veterans who served the military as engineers, plumbers, electricians, and heavy equipment operators can quality for immediate employment.
The aggregate and construction industry already actively recruit veterans and participate in programs such as Work for Warriors, Honor a Hero, and the California Employment Development Department Workforce Program. Industry companies throughout the state are already active with programs and recruitment of veterans, and many of these employers actually have been hiring veterans for decades.
Over the next 10 years, more than 6,000 workers will be needed each and every year to fill jobs that will be created by SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Work with us! Let’s make sure a good share of them are veterans!