Olympia – Helping service members successfully transition back into civilian life is the goal of legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma.

Senate Bill 5633 funds a coordinator position at the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) for the Helmets to Hardhats program.

“Transitioning to life back at home can be a daunting task for returning soldiers and searching for a job on top of that can even more daunting.” said Conway. “By funding a Helmets to Hardhats coordinator, we can provide returning soldiers with a counselor dedicated to meeting their needs and devoted to getting them on the right track to full-time employment.”

Helmets to Hardhats is a program that helps veterans secure jobs in the construction industry. The program refers veterans to training and apprenticeship opportunities provided by the trade organizations themselves at no cost to the veterans. The Helmets to Hardhats coordinator at the WDVA will help Washington’s veterans get back to work and ease the process of re-acclamation to life at home.

“A human voice, a reminder of what is possible when you return home and begin your transition into the civilian world can make a huge difference,” said Christopher Winters, business representative for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District 5. “We not only owe it to our returning veterans to do our best to assist in their transition but we should be there to counsel them on the hurdles they may encounter, assist in the process of application to the industries that interest them, and shoulder them while they rejoin our communities.”

SB 5633 was passed unanimously by the Senate and the House. It now moves to the governor’s desk for final approval.