Photo by Morgan Somers on Unsplash

A recent study by the Associated General Contractors of America cites a potential labor shortage that could impede the big build needed to support Detroit’s economic growth.  Jack Devine, a Vietnam veteran in Detroit contends that the state has an overlooked opportunity to meet those demands—the veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Michigan is home to 625,000 veterans, one of the country’s largest veteran populations. Veterans are known for their skills and dedication to sustain and/or improve systems, education and social challenges.

The National Veterans Business Development Council (NVBDC), headquartered in Detroit, has been certifying businesses that are veteran-owned. Contractors should start their search there as they look to fill positions.

Many companies have initiated programs to train and employ veterans. The Home Depot Foundation announced last year that it will donate $50 million during the next 10 years to prepare 20,000 workers for the construction industry, by partnering with the Home Builders Institute to train, among others, military veterans and active U.S. Army soldiers who will soon be leaving the service.

For the local youth, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 9, recently announced at the Randolph Career Technical Center that a portion of its $10,000 donation to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation will be designated for students pursuing a career in the building trades.

The funds will help those students pursuing careers in the trades pay for either an accompanying degree program at a community college or the costs of critical items such as transportation, construction apparel and equipment.

To address labor shortages that will enable the people of the city, and of the area, to meet the tasks ahead, Detroit should make the most of the population that has already proved their mettle by tapping into the many men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Many veterans are ready and able to report for that duty.