The new Get Skills to Work coalition aims to give U.S. military veterans training in advanced manufacturing and put them into high-tech jobs at a time when the shortage of skilled workers poses a challenge to industry growth. With support from GE, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin, The Manufacturing Institute manages the initiative and seeks additional support in order to reach a goal of assisting 100,000 veterans by 2015.
“Today, many veterans are out of work, despite the nation’s growing industrial sector and increased demand for skilled workers,” emphasized Jeff Imelt, chairman and CEO of GE, in a company announcement. “Through this initiative, we have an opportunity to help veterans with extraordinary leadership capabilities better compete for good-paying jobs in the long-term future,” he said.
Roughly 1 million vets are expected to make transitions back to civilian careers within the next four years, but according to the Get Skills to Work coalition’s online survey of over 1,000 of active military members and vets, one-third do not feel that they are sufficiently prepared for the shift to civilian life.
The coalition hopes to successfully transfer them over with three key incentives: accelerating their skills training, translating their military experience into civilian opportunities and empowering their employers.
While military skills may not necessarily qualify applicants for manufacturing positions, the coalition helps leverage and translate veterans’ technical aptitude to various manufacturing fields — including machining and welding. To accelerate veterans’ manufacturing skills acquisition, the coalition partners will work with technical schools and community colleges as part of the Right Skills Now program, which offers training in core manufacturing areas and provides fast tracks to industry certifications.
With thousands of high-tech positions available and not enough skilled employees to fill them, one solution is the Manufacturing Pipeline, an online hub that connects manufacturing employers with military looking for work. Additionally, the Get Skills to Work Coalition will assist vets with building online profiles on LinkedIn that effectively match employers’ requirements.
Another initiative to empower employees is a toolkit developed by GE and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, which will “share research and proven best practices from more than 40 businesses to deliver processes, resources and programs that will enable more employers to effectively recruit, on-board, support and mentor veterans in the civilian workforce.”
The Get Skills to Work coalition follows another incentive created to help vets get back into work. This past summer, The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program was launched to assist unemployed vets, administered by the Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration.
Veterans looking for more information about Get Skills to Work coalition opportunities can visit www.GetSkillstoWork.org.