Get Skills to Work formed to address Skills Gap, veterans training

GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Alcoa to fund program to help military personnel transition to manufacturing jobs

10/15/2012


Four major American manufacturers announced Monday the creation of a coalition to fund and encourage military veterans to get the training needed to fill the manufacturing jobs shortage.

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. It 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 group said in a press release Monday.

“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 veterans with 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% 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.

The coalition commissioned an online survey of more than 1,000 veterans and active duty military members preparing to transition to the private sector. The survey 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 of the transition to civilian life; the percentage rises to nearly 48% 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,” said Paula Davis, president of the Alcoa Foundation. “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. Alcoa is proud to invest in this worthwhile endeavor.”

“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’s 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.”

“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.”

The program will consist of three elements:

  • 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.

  • 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., has 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.

  • Empowering Employers

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 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.

For more information please visit www.GetSkillstoWork.org  



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