Helmets to Hardhats Receives $125,000 Donation from Pharmaceutical Companies

Helmets to Hardhats Receives $125,000 Donation from Pharmaceutical Companies

12.04.12 | By Scott LaGanga

Today we've got a guest post from Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats.

Helmets to Hardhats was presented with a $125,000 donation from America's biopharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, and Pfizer during the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association's (PILMA) annual meeting on November 15.

Since our founding in 2003, Helmets to Hardhats has been dedicated to supporting America's troops and providing them with quality career opportunities in the construction industry, and this gift will help fund our important initiative for another year. We are honored to receive this donation, and we will put this money to work bettering the lives and careers of our nation's heroes.

We work hard every day to fulfill our promise to returning soldiers by providing assistance and training opportunities for veterans. Since 2007, when we began keeping track of placement figures, Helmets to Hardhats has connected nearly 6,000 military veterans with careers in the construction trades industry.

Joining me to receive the donation were Iron Workers President and PILMA Chairman Walter Wise, as well as Building and Construction Trades President Sean McGarvey. Industry and labor leaders were also on hand. Helmets to Hardhats is sponsored by the 15 unions of the building and construction trades along with construction industry employer associations.

"In these tough economic times it is more important than ever that we support our returning troops," Wise said. "Helmets to Hardhats has a proven track record of placing veterans in good-paying jobs and easing their transition back to civilian life. The generosity of our partners in the biopharmaceutical industry towards this very deserving program underscores the value of the partnership we enjoy through this process. We are proud to support this program, and we are thankful for the support of the pharmaceutical industry. We look forward to continuing to find ways to grow Helmets to Hardhats in the future."

Until 2011, Helmets to Hardhats was funded through a Department of Defense appropriation, but government restrictions cut funding for the program. Since then, Helmets to Hardhats has been fully supported by private foundations, donations, employers, employer associations, and unions. Contributions support our marketing and outreach efforts, which are vital in our mission to connect veterans with the building and construction trades.

"This program is a win-win for everyone involved," Johnson & Johnson Vice President for Government Affairs and PILMA Vice-Chairman Don Bohn said. "The pharmaceutical industry is committed to employing a highly-trained and disciplined workforce to construct the complex facilities that help lead us to innovation, and programs like Helmets to Hardhats supply these workers. Hiring veterans who have this training ensures that we are getting the best-qualified workers for the job. When we put these dedicated men and women to work building our facilities, it can only aid our drive to find new medicines and tomorrow's cures."

The donation was set up with the help of PILMA, which consists of the unions of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department and member companies of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). PILMA works to support policies that lead to a robust domestic pharmaceutical industry and has helped maintain a strong partnership between management and labor in the life sciences.

"Servicemen and women possess the training and skills to succeed in the building and construction trades, and we are honored to provide an opportunity to help these men and women find success," President McGarvey said. "This is yet another example of the Building Trades' commitment, across the U.S. economy, to collaborating with the biopharmaceutical industry in a way that creates jobs domestically and increases our ability to compete globally."

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