A new program at the University of Pittsburgh is helping disabled United States military veterans become machinists.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) have developed the Fabrication of Assistive Technology (FATe) Program to help combat veteran unemployment, which until recently dwarfed the civilian unemployment rate. As of May 2013, the veteran unemployment rate was at 6.6 percent, though post-9/11 veterans posted a higher rate of 7.3 percent. Even more problematic is that disabled veteran unemployment is much higher.
“Unemployment among veterans with disabilities is even higher than it is with veterans without disabilities … so getting great training in a career area where there are lots of jobs available is one way we hope to address that,” HERL director and FATe co-founder Dr. Rory Cooper told WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.
One problem, as we’ve written about in the past in IMT Machining Journal as well as IMT Career Journal, is that veterans often have job skills for civilian careers, but they do not have recognized civilian certification. The FATe Program provides disabled veterans with machining training that includes certification and experience working in a local shop, which can often lead to full-time employment.
The 16-week course, which will start in September, costs students $25,000, though Cooper told WESA they are trying to develop scholarship opportunities. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has already provided a $100,000 grant to the program.
“With that money, we can get our program up and running as well as create a model for the program to be replicated at other sites around the United States, so we’re very happy that Highmark gave us this generous gift and has become a partner in helping us train Wounded Warriors for rewarding careers,” Cooper explained.
If you or someone you know would like to apply for the FATe Program, fill out this application by August 2.