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Keystone XL Approval Critical to U.S. Veterans Transitioning to Careers in the Construction Industry

TransCanada Executive Joins Leaders from Building Trades Unions and Helmets to Hardhats Program to Tour Training Facility

CHICAGO, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National and local leaders from North America's Building Trades Unions today joined with the Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats and a senior executive with TransCanada to discuss the importance of large, shovel ready infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline to America's National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members who are seeking employment opportunities within the building and construction industry. 

Following the discussion, Brent Booker, Secretary-Treasurer of North America's Building Trades Unions, and Tom Villanova, President of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council, joined Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats, and Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada Executive Vice President, for a tour of the Chicagoland Laborers District Council Training Center where U.S. veterans were among the trainees.

"Infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline represent a win-win for America," said Booker.  "By further assisting the amazing resurgence in our domestic energy resources that is today contributing to explosive overall economic growth in many regions of the country, they are also directly responsible for increased, and badly needed, job and career training opportunities for military veterans through programs like Helmets to Hardhats."

Echoing those statements, Chicago-Cook County Building President said, "We have seen firsthand how the Helmets to Hardhats program, in partnership with joint apprenticeship training centers like the Chicagoland Laborers Center where we are today, have proven to be a life-altering opportunity for our nation's military veterans.  But, for us to succeed we need projects like Keystone on which to conduct this training."

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that exists to connect transitioning active-duty military members, as well as National Guardsmen/women and Reservists, with quality career training and employment opportunities within the building and construction industry.

"TransCanada takes pride in supporting the men and women who have served their country with bravery, dedication and honor," said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada Executive Vice President. "U.S. veterans were part of the highly-skilled, union workforce that built the first three phases of the Keystone Pipeline System and we hope to make them part of the workforce that builds Keystone XL, a critical and modern piece of American energy infrastructure that will help strengthen U.S. energy, economic and national security."

The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is currently awaiting a Presidential Permit from the U.S. federal government, as it has been for the last 5 years.  It is the largest, shovel-ready infrastructure project on the books in the U.S. today.  If approved, construction of Keystone XL would result in:

  • $3.4 billion to the U.S. GDP;
  • 42,100 direct and indirect jobs – including 9,000 union jobs for building and construction trades workers; and
  • $2 billion in employment earnings throughout the United States. 

Once built, the Keystone XL pipeline would connect to the larger, already constructed and operational 2,639-mile Keystone Pipeline System that transports crude oil from Alberta to markets in the American Midwest and the U.S. Gulf Coast. The first phase of the Keystone system became operational and has been safely making deliveries to Wood River and Patoka, Illinois since 2010.  The second phase became operational and has been safely making deliveries to Cushing, Oklahoma since 2011.  The third phase became operational and has been safely making deliveries to the Gulf Coast since the beginning of 2014.

"Over the next few years," said Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of the Helmets to Hardhats program, "we are expecting roughly 1 million service members to depart the military.  We need to be able to provide these men and women with structured pathways to quality careers and for some, that will be found in an apprenticeship where training in an 'earn while they learn' environment, while others are matched with corporate executive and office positions with contractors.  Both avenues are designed to lead to a family-sustaining career and a secure life in the middle class.  But, we cannot help these veterans if there are no construction projects on which to train them and to put them to work. We are grateful for the support shown here today by TransCanada in helping to provide needed opportunities for American military veterans."

North America's Building Trades Unions are an alliance of 14 national and international unions that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada.

TransCanada builds and operates the energy infrastructure that North America needs.  Experts in its field, known for its solid financial track record, for its integrity and high standards of corporate governance and business ethics, TransCanada is committed to being a good neighbour.  With more than 60 years experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable and safe operation of North American energy infrastructure.  The company recently donated $100,000 to the Helmets to Hardhats program.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired 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 in the construction industry.  Since its inception in 2003, Helmets to Hardhats has placed over 10,000 military veterans in jobs and career training programs in the construction industry.

SOURCE North America's Building Trades Unions

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