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LETTER: City can support veterans and workers with project labor agreement

To the Editor:

As our Minnesota military service men and women return from their service to our nation, we know that sometimes their transitions to civilian life can be challenging. Veterans have greater risk of homelessness, are more likely to be unemployed as they learn to adapt their military skills to a profession, and often face unique health challenges. It takes all of us working together as a community to make that transition an easy one for military veterans who have served our country with commitment and discipline. One thing I have done as your state legislator is author legislation to help support the Helmets to Hardhats apprenticeship program.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career with a good paying job in the construction industry.

I'm glad the Cloquet City Council approved a project labor agreement which could utilize Helmets to Hardhats in their contracting practices. The building trades have a long history of supporting returning veterans and so does the city of Cloquet.

The project labor agreement policy levels the playing field for bidders and ensures worker protection regarding wages and benefits. This is a step in the right direction as the city joins Carlton County, St. Louis County and several neighboring municipalities in implementing purchasing practices that ensures timely completion and quality craftsmanship on construction projects.

Representative Mike Sundin — District 11A