About Troops to Trades

Troops to Trades was started by a plumber, Keith Mercurio, who watched his friends join the military, go overseas to combat and then return home to uncertain futures.  While the he had learned the trade of plumbing, his friends had served our country.  Yet now they didn’t have a career to return.  As Keith’s career progressed, he watched his friends struggle.  Eventually Keith moved into a new career as a Sale Trainer working with businesses in the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical industries.

In his new role Keith realized that there were many opportunities for veterans, National Guards and Reserve Members to find work within the industry.  He also realized that veterans possess the skills that the industry needs. Veterans quickly learn new skills and concepts and are trained to lead by example as well as through delegation. They are tremendously accountable and respect rules and procedures. Furthermore, they are sincere and trustworthy, and have the proven ability to overcome challenges and obstacles through strength and determination.

In order to honor the thousands of individuals transitioning into the civilian workforce, Keith spearheaded a new program, Troops to Trades.

“I have long held members of the U.S. Military in the highest regard. My admiration was further elevated when my two best friends joined the Marine Corps. Remarkably, Brendan and Nate, qualified for Force Recon and served in the same unit in Afghanistan. Dan Beucke, writing on Veterans Day in the Bloomberg Business week said, ‘It’s sobering to realize just how badly the job market has turned against the men and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their rate of unemployment was 12.1 percent in October, vs. 9 percent for the U.S. overall.’

The men and women who’ve seen combat in Afghanistan and Iraq are among the most disciplined, hard-working, respectful and physically fit people in this country. Yet their service has excluded them from getting the education and training they need in order to get the very jobs in which they can be extremely successful. I am partnering with the Nexstar Legacy Foundation to help this nation’s veterans achieve their dreams.” -Keith Mercurio, Nexstar® Network Inc.

Troops to Trades is a program of the Nexstar Legacy Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), that provides scholarships and career contacts within the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical residential services industries.  It works with small to mid-sized businesses across the United Sates to help them locate potential employees, especially technical service employees.  It currently runs three programs: Troops to Trades which helps veterans connect with the industry, Explore the Trades which helps youth ages 15 to 25 connect with the industry, and scholarships which help students pursuing degrees in the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical industries.

For more information on these programs, visit the foundation’s website at www.nexstarfoundation.org.

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