General Electric, joined by Alcoa, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin, is forming a coalition with several academic and non-profit partners to establish advanced manufacturing training programs for military veterans. The companies state their goal is to increase the number of talented candidates for manufacturing jobs, and to improve global competitiveness for U.S. employers.
The Get Skills to Work coalition will focus on: accelerating skills training for U.S. veterans; helping veterans and employers translate military skills to advanced manufacturing jobs; and empowering employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans.
The coalition will be managed by the Manufacturing Institute and supported through financial and in-kind commitments from GE, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin. As a start, they aim to help 15,000 veterans convert their military experience to technical skills in advanced manufacturing positions.
The coalition is seeking additional partners to help it to reach 100,000 veterans by 2015.
“A strong manufacturing industry is central to the long-term health and success of our economy,” stated GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “But, as technology advances, skill sets 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,” Immelt continued. “Through this initiative, we have an opportunity to help veterans with extraordinary leadership capabilities better compete for good paying jobs with a long-term future.”
An online survey of more than 1,000 veterans and active-duty military members approaching deactivation found 76% of respondents are confident they will be as successful in their careers as they were in the military — but one-third of these feel unequipped for the challenges of transitioning to civilian life.
“Veterans offer the technical, leadership and critical thinking skills that advanced manufacturing demands,” Paula Davis, president of the Alcoa Foundation, said. “Forming the Get Skills to Work 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.
Presently, the four founding companies employ approximately 64,000 U.S. military veterans.
The program will have three elements: accelerating skills training; translating military experience into civilian opportunities; and empowering employers.
In the first demonstration of the coalition’s efforts, coalition partners will work with local community and technical colleges to establish the Manufacturing Institute’s “Right Skills Now” program, which will fast-tracks industry-recognized certifications and offer training in core manufacturing technical skill areas.
The partners will engage their regional suppliers 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.
In January 2013, the first class of veterans will be enrolled at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, near GE Aviation’s manufacturing center in Cincinnati.
“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,” stated 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.”