Javier Velasquez, Bricklayer, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 506,
After five years in the Navy as a Master of Arms, Javier Velazquez transitioned from the military, and began his search
for his next opportunity. Javier was struggling to find a good, steady job,
but found his opening at a job fair when he
met with Helmets to Hardhats, a union organization that connects veterans of the Armed Forces with promising building and
construction careers. Helmets to Hardhats helped him with his transition, and getting that good job, and also let him know that he
could use his GI Bill in his apprenticeship.
At the start of his apprenticeship, Javier tapped into his GI Bill benefit he earned with the Navy, and received an extra $1,000
per month on top of his paycheck. The Bricklayers Union and Helmets to Hardhats are "Approved for the GI Bill" Registered
Apprenticeship programs, and Javier and other eligible veterans like him, can use their GI Bill education benefits to help with
expenses as they complete their apprenticeship. Javier thought this was a good opportunity for him to help meet his monthly bills,
while learning a new trade as a Bricklayer.
In 2014, 28 year-old Javier Velazquez is a third year Bricklayer apprentice with International Union of Bricklayers and Allied
Craftworkers and a reservist with the Navy. Today he works on new construction projects with a company that constructs cutting edge
buildings, including new schools, casinos, and retail outlets. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, Javier can expect to
make nearly $42 per hour – roughly $85,000 per year. And, he's well on his way to a great future with the advanced skills he
needs for a career in construction.