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'Transition to Trades' equipping veterans for technical careers

'Transition to Trades' equipping veterans for technical careers
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 19:32:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When Barry Lovett approached the end of his Army career, he faced the same questions many service members ask.

"It was very scary because you've been doing a job for 25 years and what's the next step, you know?" Lovett said.

Often, the transition to civilian life means starting over.

"For me always, it was almost ingrained in me from the military experience to want things to work correctly and to fix things," said Lovett.

That passion for fixing things led him to the 'Transition to Trades' program at Total Tech.

"It started off with one or two military people coming through the program and as word of mouth carried throughout military, now we have them coming from throughout the country," said Founder and President of Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Jimmy Hiller.

The program offers service members an employment pipeline outside of the military. Students learn hands-on electrical, HVAC and plumbing skills.

Just this week, the school celebrated its 1,000th soldier to graduate from the program.

"Once these graduates graduate from our school, they can get a job right away," said Hiller. "So, in 30, 45 days they're going to be employed after that."

Demand for these jobs is soaring. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates by the year 2030 there will be more than 1.6 million openings for electrical, HVAC and plumbing jobs.

"So, a lot of the tradespeople are getting up in age and they're retiring, so that's left a huge gap in the home services need," Hiller said.

Now, Lovett is an instructor training students who are transitioning like he once did. With demand for technicians only growing, there may be many more coming through his classroom in the future.