Apple Valley’s Kolbe makes anniversary jump for program aiding military with jobs
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Fifty years ago, Dave Kolbe of Apple Valley was a member of the U.S. Army’s legendary 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg North Carolina.
Later that year, 1968, he was sent to Vietnam, where he served with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
He left the service in 1970 and, as he describes it, “totally by accident” wound up as a Union Ironworker.
Today, going from the service to a civilian career job doesn’t have to be the result of an accident. The program “Helmets to Hardhats” is a national organization that connects National Guard, Reservists and retired or transitioning active-duty military personnel with one of 15 construction trade unions’ apprenticeship programs. The program guarantees job placement.
“Programs like this didn’t exist when I was discharged,” Kolbe said. “I became an ironworker by chance but today, returning soldiers and sailors have resources and support to get trained and back to work as soon as they come home from serving our country.”
Kolbe explained that the union apprenticeship programs are fully funded by contractors and union members and a veteran’s participation in the program costs him or her nothing.