White House photo
Michelle Obama launches White House-construction industry initiative for 100,000 military veteran hires in the next five years.

The Obama administration and a coalition of construction groups and firms said on Feb. 10 that at least 100 industry firms have committed to hiring 100,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years.

The initiative, announced at a symposium in Washington, D.C., is being led by First Lady Michelle Obama, who said the number of firms making the employment commitment is “a number that gets me out of bed in the morning.”

She said industry jobs are ones "that provide economic security, jobs that can't be outsource or sent overseas, that strengthen ladders of opportunity and provide the ticket to the middle class."

Returning vets have the “attitude and experience needed to thrive in construction jobs,” she added.

Jacobs Engineering, Bechtel Group and Cianbro Corp. are among the firms that have pledged to make the hires. Groups involved in the hiring push include the Building Trades, the Associated General Contractors and the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Katie Sanicky, a U.S. Army veteran who is now a union ironworker apprentice in Cleveland, said she is, “once again, in the position to be a positive image to women and single mothers everywhere.”

Larry Melton, a former Marine captain who now is a Bechtel vice president and project director of the Dulles Metro rail line extension, said "veterans accomplish whatever mission is put before them and I can't think of anything that an employer would want more from an employee."

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said the industry “needs what veterans have to offer.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says industry jobs will grow by 2.6% annually through the year 2022.