The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO) has created a new full-time position to assist Canadian military veterans who want to become carpenters.
Mike Humphries, who has been on staff at Local 27 for 13 years, is taking the reins to help veterans “make the transition smoothly and easily.”
A military veteran himself with a wealth of experience in outreach with the Helmets to Hardhats and Renos for Heroes programs, Humphries will be putting his head and his heart into the new post.
“I have the skills and contacts and I want to give back to the (military) veteran community…to those who have given their all for this country,” he says.
“They have completed their military service and as they go on to second careers that shift is not always clear or easy.”
Humphries has been a business representative for the CDCO. The 54-year-old says along with recruitment, his job includes mentoring new apprentices from the Canadian military and even providing “wellness checks” for those facing difficult times with the transition into civilian life.
The council’s focus on recruiting ex-military personnel is because veterans often have “soft skills important to our trade” such as good work ethic, discipline and an ability to pay attention to details, a positive trait in carpentry. The ability to read drawings is a good example.
“I find the veterans who have made the transition have an easier time fitting into our trade, whether it’s formwork, scaffolding or general carpentry,” he says. “They tend to strive towards teamwork.”
Mike Yorke, president of the CDCO, says the majority of contractor members have indicated that military veterans have made sound and reliable employees.
He says the council’s members have been “full partners in this and through post-COVID-19 it will be more important than ever to have an inclusive economic recovery.”
Yorke says Humphries was a good choice for the job because he has “lived the life of a vet.”
“He clearly relates to many of their experiences after a long career in the military.”
At age 13 Humphries joined the air cadets and left the military 25 years ago to become a carpenter.
“Carpentry offered me good training, wages and benefits,” he explains. “It was the right time to move into a new career and be closer to family.”
Humphries says his upbringing taught him the importance of sharing and giving to those less fortunate than himself.
His grandfather, also a military veteran, built a reputation around helping people.
“He was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off of his back.”
Humphries has embarked on many outreach initiatives tied to military programs on behalf of the Carpenters’ council. He does the charitable work happily.
“I have a good job and lead a good life,” he says. “It’s a pleasure for me to give back to those less fortunate.”