While staffing shortages have impacted the construction industry for decades and worsened in recent years, large-scale solar EPC contractors like McCarthy Building Companies have found success recruiting U.S. military veterans who, in turn, are streamlining solar installation and construction processes by creating efficiencies through logistics.
Military veterans are a segment of the labor force that deserves attention and are helping to fill gaps. Vets currently make up about 7% of the construction workforce, and approximately 200,000 vets transition out of the military each year. The appeal for hiring veterans includes a unique set of hard and soft skills as well as attitudinal characteristics that make them great new hires and leaders in construction.
Because of McCarthy’s veteran-focused efforts, the company’s current workforce comprises approximately 10% veterans. These men and women are filling various roles, including entry level, craft and journeyman, operations, logistics, safety, quality control and management. Because of their military training and experience, veterans tend to have a strong sense of discipline, focus, team-orientation, and leadership.
Military experience improves solar construction processes
“We’re involved in the entire lifecycle of a project, including workforce mobilization and demobilization, training on tooling and equipment, and tracking and handling of onsite material,” Manning said. “We’ve been given the freedom to test out new strategies, processes and technology in the field, with the end goal of scaling our operations to support the rapid growth of the industry and operate at maximum efficiency. It’s a skill that is valued in the military, and it transfers very well to our work on solar projects.”
McCarthy recognizes that the dynamics of solar construction are very similar to manufacturing, and with every improvement to the process we can improve workflow, quality, schedule and make projects better for everyone involved. We are continually striving to add value for our clients and for our project teams. McCarthy’s logistics team, which is led by veterans, is helping to do exactly that, and it has been really exciting to see.
Open-minded approach creates opportunities
Manning found McCarthy after being accepted into theHiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, which was implemented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to assist transitioning service members in finding post-military employment.
The program receives approximately 2,500 applicants per cohort (three cohorts per calendar year), with only about 20% being accepted to a 12-week internship. Most participants have extensive leadership and team-building experience, are flexible and willing to learn, and hold at least a post-secondary degree. Additionally, upwards of 86% of Hiring Our Heroes graduates obtain full-time employment through the program.
“When I applied to the program, I did not have construction on my radar. I thought I’d end up with Boeing or Lockheed Martin due to my aircraft mechanic experience in the Air Force,” Manning said. “However, my interview with McCarthy’s renewable energy leaders got me excited about a career in solar construction, and the culture here is a great fit for me.”
阿斯彭多兰是另一个招聘我们的英雄毕业who transitioned to a role as a senior project engineer on McCarthy’s solar design management team. After graduating from West Point in 2016 with a degree in environmental engineering, she spent six years working as a medical service officer for the U.S. Army.
麦卡锡（McCarthy）与诸如雇用我们在这个领域已经成功并有能力达到兽医的英雄之类的组织合作，我们鼓励其他人也这样做。此外，麦卡锡与自适应施工解决方案（ACS），a veteran-owned staffing organization that offers an accredited apprenticeship program.
The program is free for veterans and each apprentice builds skills through the combination of on-the-job training, mentorship and technical instruction. The curriculum is designed to help veterans understand and develop the skills and knowledge essential to be successful on construction projects. Successful apprentices are eligible to be hired full time and continue to work with McCarthy on solar projects around the country.
麦卡锡可再生能源团队的高级物流经理Anthony Pickens, retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army after his 24-year military career ended due to medical concerns. A connection with ACS in his home state of Texas led him to McCarthy in 2021.
皮肯斯说：“起初，我认为我不可能在建筑行业中擅长 - 我没有在军队中建造桥梁或铺路。”“但是当我与领导层坐下时，他们将生活融入了职位描述中必威克雷斯。这是办公室和现场工作的很好的结合，总会有一个挑战，事情永远不会常规。”
It is clear to us at McCarthy that veterans offer a strategic advantage to the construction and renewable energy industries. In recent years, our renewable energy and storage team has hired and trained numerous veterans and is actively engaging with more men and women returning to civilian life from military service to help them find their place on our team. Growing with veterans has proven to be rewarding and beneficial, particularly as we embrace the unique experience, perspective and innovations these individuals are bringing to our industry.