Hiring veterans is the focus of the Get Skills to Work coalition, a collaboration sponsored by General Electric that combines manufacturers, educational institutions, and veterans advocates to prepare our soldiers for manufacturing careers.
According to the website "The Get Skills to Work coalition wouldn't be possible without the support and partnership from Alcoa, the Atlantic Council, Boeing, Futures Inc, the Gary Sinise Foundation, GE, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, the Manufacturing Institute, TechShop, and others. The Get Skills to Work Advisory Council has also played a major role in advising the coalition from the veterans' perspective. By helping veterans qualify and get hired for new careers, we can close the skills gap and enhance America's advanced manufacturing sector."
In this video, Gary Sinise describes the mission of the program.
Veterans often have training and skills in technology that are crucial to the high-tech factories of today. What they lack in specific certifications can be gained through on-line and on-site coursework offered by various technical schools and colleges. Many manufacturers offer in-house training to ensure the veterans have the job-specific skills they will need to succeed.
The GSTW website features some great tools for veterans transitioning to civilian life in manufacturing. One tool matches the veterans MOC (military occupational classification) with job skills and creates “badges” of certifications so employers can identify the candidates that fit their employment profile. The site also has an assessment tool to help veterans identify careers that match their experience and interests.
Once done, the veteran can use the site to find training programs to obtain any additional skills. VA Innovations Initiative teamed up with TechShop and offers a free one-year membership and discounts on training. There is also a list of technical schools by state and a LinkedIn tool specifically developed for veterans to take better advantage of marketing their credentials. On the employer’s side, manufacturers can search for candidates, post openings. and utilize a Military-Skills Translator to match job requirements to the best veteran candidates.
The program launched in 2012 and has already made an impact. James Bolding, a disabled Air Force Veteran, is an example of the program’s success. James knew he wanted to pursue a job in the oil industry but lacked the right skill set to get hired. Using the GSTW resources, James found a training program in his state and drove several hours each day to attend classes. He received his certification in Instrumentation and Control systems and now works an Instrument Technician in his hometown.
We owe a great debt to our returning veterans. Manufacturing companies will find these warriors bring a dedication and determination to succeed. It is in their DNA. Companies should take advantage the inherent strengths that are built into these brave and loyal people who have served our country so well.
For more information about how you can become involved, use the resource links below.
Get Skills To Work - website with access to job skill assessment tools, job listings and training centers.
U.S. Manufacturing Pipeline – A website for employers and job seekers specifically for the manufacturing industry.
Tech Shop – Training resources for veterans.