Goal is to Train and Match 100,000 Veterans by 2015

• Accelerated skills training program offered in ten states: Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Texas, California, Washington, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania

• Online “badging” system helps vets translate military experience to civilian manufacturing job opportunities

• GE and Institute for Veterans and Military Families creates employer toolkit to expand and enhance hiring, development and mentoring of veterans transitioning to civilian workforce

• Hands-on trainings at TechShop locations in Michigan, California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and New York let veterans interact with advanced manufacturing technologies

GE has joined with business, digital, academic and not-for-profit partners today to launch a new coalition that aims to train military veterans for jobs in advanced manufacturing, bolster the talent pipeline and enhance American competitiveness.

The ‘Get Skills to Work’ coalition will focus on: accelerating skills training for U.S. veterans; helping veterans and employers translate military skills to in-demand advanced manufacturing positions; and empowering employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans.

‘Get Skills to Work’ will be managed by the Manufacturing Institute and supported through financial and in-kind commitments from GE, Alcoa Inc, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. These initial investments will help 15,000 veterans translate military experience to corresponding advanced manufacturing opportunities and gain the technical skills needed to qualify for careers in this growing sector. The coalition is seeking additional partners to meet its goal of reaching 100,000 veterans by 2015. Companies and veterans interested in joining this effort or learning more can visit ‘Get Skills to Work’.

“A strong manufacturing industry is central to the long-term health and success of our economy.” said Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. “But as technology advances, skillsets must be upgraded to ensure companies like GE have the talent to continue to fuel innovation. Today, many veterans are out of work, despite the nation’s growing industrial sector and increased demand for skilled workers. Through this initiative, we have an opportunity to help our veterans, who bring with them extraordinary leadership capabilities, better compete for good paying jobs with a long-term future.”

Reportedly 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs remain open in the U.S. and more than 82 percent of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs. Meanwhile, one million veterans are expected to exit the armed forces over the next four years and will be transitioning to civilian careers. With an eye to this talent pool, U.S. veterans have been chosen for the training program’s initial focus.

The coalition commissioned an online survey of more than 1,000 veterans and active duty military members preparing to transition to the private sector, which found that while 76 percent of respondents are confident they will be as successful in their careers as they were in the military, one-third do not feel equipped to overcome the challenges that will encompass the transition; the percentage rises to nearly half (48 percent) when surveying active duty military who are scheduled to transition in two years or less.

“Veterans offer the technical, leadership and critical thinking skills that advanced manufacturing demands. Forming the Get Skills to Work business coalition and coordinating with nonprofits to train, recruit and develop Veterans is an exciting model that has the potential to change lives and produce a significant competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers. Alcoa is proud to invest in this worthwhile endeavor,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation.

“Based on our experience recruiting and training veterans to work at Boeing, we believe the Get Skills to Work initiative could have a major impact on the hiring of veterans nationwide,” said Rick Stephens, Boeing senior vice president of human resources and administration, and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “Using many of the same tactics and tools, such as a website for transitioning veterans that includes a military-to-civilian skills translator, we have hired and trained nearly 3,000 veterans in the past 21 months for jobs at Boeing. It’s a proven approach for matching the skills of those who have served our country to the hiring needs of American businesses. We’re honored to be part of Get Skills to Work, and look forward to integrating our efforts with the coalition.”

“America’s veterans want and deserve the opportunity to contribute to our society and provide for their families,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO. “At Lockheed Martin, we believe it is our duty to give them that opportunity. There is no greater way to say ‘thanks’ for all their service and sacrifice, which enable all of us to live safe and secure lives, and pursue our dreams every day. The investment this coalition makes in training will provide them this opportunity, and strengthen tomorrow’s workforce.”

Get Skills to Work aims to close the skills gap by outfitting military veterans with the tools and skills necessary to qualify for advanced manufacturing jobs, and empowering employers to instill progressive hiring practices when recruiting and hiring for advanced manufacturing positions.

Accelerating Skills Training
To help prepare veterans whose military service experience doesn’t immediately qualify them for available manufacturing jobs, coalition partners will work with local community and technical colleges to establish the Manufacturing Institute’s “Right Skills Now” program, which fast-tracks industry-recognized certifications and offers training in core manufacturing technical skill areas. Partners will engage their regional supply base to ensure the certifications being offered meet the immediate skill needs of local employers, and will work with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as local military transition offices and bases to recruit veteran participants.

The first class of veterans will be enrolled in January 2013 near GE Aviation’s manufacturing hub in Cincinnati, Ohio at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Additional training sites will open throughout 2013, servicing Ft. Worth and Houston, Texas; Schenectady, New York; Greenville, South Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; greater Los Angeles, California; and Evansville, Indiana. Boeing will continue to train its workers in the Puget Sound area of Washington state, Charleston, S.C., St. Louis and Philadelphia through existing partnerships with Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, readySC, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, St Louis Community College and Delaware County Community College.

“The Manufacturing Institute is proud to be partnering with GE and other committed employers to make their investments in veterans and manufacturing workforce training have a real impact in communities across the country,” said Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute. “Working with our partners, we will help create real opportunities for veterans to get the skills they need to access in-demand manufacturing jobs.”

To help drive further industry participation, the Atlantic Council will lead efforts to educate and engage potential corporate partners across the country. On a parallel track, GE has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to help raise awareness among military communities, and drive veteran recruitment into the training program. Founded by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to supporting veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.

“After the events of September 11th, I just felt compelled to serve the needs of men and women in uniform and people that are serving our country. Through this work, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with veterans who are returning home from combat without a clear path for how they will succeed in civilian life,” said Sinise. “This program will give them an opportunity to begin laying a foundation for satisfying, long-term careers as they transition back to the civilian workforce.”

Translating Military Experience into Civilian Opportunities
Many veterans and employers have difficulty recognizing and translating the skills gained through military training and experience into civilian workforce skill sets. The Manufacturing Institute, working with Futures Inc., have created a digital badge system to help translate applicable Military Occupational Specialty codes (MOS), the U.S. military’s system for identifying jobs, to civilian positions in advanced manufacturing. Skills matching and badge distribution will be supported by the US Manufacturing Pipeline, a centralized online hub that connects manufacturing employers with veterans and transitioning military personnel. Get Skills to Work will also leverage LinkedIn to enable veterans to build their professional profiles and relevant skills on LinkedIn. To boost the number of job opportunities available to credentialed veterans, GE will sponsor an advanced manufacturing “job-posting drive” on the LinkedIn platform. Military veteran participants and employers can access these platforms at

Empowering Employers
Findings from the coalition survey found that 62 percent of respondents believe that private companies have a responsibility to provide veterans with opportunities to enter and succeed in the civilian job market. GE and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) will develop and deploy a toolkit for employers focused on creating meaningful, lasting career opportunities for veterans in the advanced manufacturing sector. The toolkit will leverage work begun by the IVMF, with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robin Hood (New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization), sharing research and proven best practices from over 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 toolkit will be available to employers participating in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative and the 100,000 Jobs Mission, as well as the broader business community. The toolkit will be available for download at

To further support the program, a Get Skills to Work Advisory Council comprising active and retired military leaders, will be engaged to ensure coalition partners understand the unique needs of veterans and transitioning military personnel, and that the program effectively delivers solutions to help close the manufacturing skills gap and bolster the talent pipeline.

Get Skills to Work Advisory Council member, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said, “As our nation’s heroes transition back into civilian life, I applaud these employers for finding effective ways to hire them, while ensuring these extraordinary young men and women, disciplined and eager to make a difference, get the job training and career counseling they need to succeed. Our veterans have sacrificed much for us and we must do all we can to support while seeking to repay the debt we owe them as a country, as they start new and successful careers.”

Hands-on Experience with Today’s Manufacturing Tech
To provide veterans with opportunities for hands-on experience with the technology found in advanced manufacturing, GE is developing with TechShop, training tracks for veterans in Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C. and New York.

Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop said, “Many people have an outdated view of the skills required for jobs in today’s advanced manufacturing environment. Once they have a chance to discover modern prototyping and manufacturing processes and participate in a hands-on workshop they see the possibilities for channeling their creativity and interest in making things into a career.”



Recommend to friends
  • gplus
  • pinterest

About the Author

Military Press

The Military Press was created to serve the men and women of our military community; the active duty, retired, our veterans, DoD workers and their families.

Leave a comment