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Programs to Train Veterans for Manufacturing Careers Gaining Traction

Posted By Jeff Moad, October 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM, in Category: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

In the 12 years since troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 2.6 million veterans have returned home to the U.S. As the stream of returning veterans increases, we and many others have noted that these veterans would be a ready and valuable resource for manufacturers struggling to find workers with the right skills.

Now much-needed programs are appearing that are designed to accelerate opportunities in manufacturing for returning veterans. This week, for example, the Manufacturing Institute announced that the State of Illinois has joined its year-old Get Skills to Work (GSTW) initiative aimed at training veterans for careers in advanced manufacturing. Illinois, the first state to join the program, will recruit manufacturers in the state to work with its community colleges to provide manufacturing-specific training and industry-based certificates to interested veterans.

Those Illinois manufacturers will join 1990 that have already joined the GSTW coalition which was founded by General Electric, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the Manufacturing Institute. The GSTW estimates that it already has connected with 30,000 returning U.S. veterans.

Separately last week, Broward College in Florida launched a similar though smaller program. Funded by a state grant, the college’s new Operation Retool program offers an accelerated engineering technology support specialist certificate to returning veterans. It can be completed in three months.

It would seem that manufacturers, educators, and governments are beginning to take positive steps to guide returning veterans to rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing. What are you and your company doing to help?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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