Training is addressing Long Island’s 27% underemployment rate among veterans
The United Way of Long Island is proud to announce it has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation; the funds will be invested in VetsBuild, a free, multi-week program through which veterans build skills in the green construction industry. VetsBuild enables veterans to transition into high demand careers including weatherization; solar energy; high-tech, high performance home building; and energy retrofits. With 27 percent of Long Island’s veteran population struggling with underemployment, VetsBuild contributes to improving that statistic by helping veterans find long-term career paths that lead to financial stability.
VetsBuild includes basic training in building science principles, renewables, weatherization, smart grid. Training takes place at United Way’s E3 SmartBuild Training Center, a state-of-the art facility equipped with the latest technology and equipment, where participants receive hands-on experience. To ensure self-sufficiency, veterans also receive resume assistance, financial counseling, case management, financial assistance, and housing related and other support services. Upon completion, VetsBuild participants have established connections to employment or advanced training opportunities.
Since 2012, there have been 272 veteran graduates with two-thirds moving into construction jobs and one-third into other careers. Over 80 veterans pursued higher education. Veterans helped to build five zero-energy-ready homes for homeless veterans.
“VetsBuild is not just about teaching home building skills and construction skills. The program is also about building lives,” said Theresa Regnante, President & CEO for United Way of Long Island. “The program accelerates positive changes in the lives of veterans and allows them to take a new turn in their career. Most important, VetsBuild leads veterans to self-sufficiency.”
“BWF’s investments in our Fall 2022 grantees, including United Way of Long Island, reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our veterans, service members, their families and caregivers” said Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “I’m proud that our current funding includes a focus on the well being of the entire family, as we know it’s not just the veteran who’s impacted by military service but their families as well.”
For more, hear from VetsBuild graduate Fabrizio Bustos about his experience. You can also read how VetsBuild led to long-term career paths for Brian, Romann, and Richard and Sonya.