Earlier this month in Cincinnati, 11 military veterans earned their stripes in core manufacturing skill sets through the "Get Skills to Work" program, representing the first class of U.S. veterans to graduate from the program.
As part of the program, the U.S. veterans completed specialized training at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to become MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) certified production technicians.
The Get Skills to Work program — launched this past October by General Electric Co. and a coalition of manufacturers, colleges and nonprofits — worked with Cincinnati-area manufacturers to design a curriculum that would be relevant to the needs of local employers.
The program plans to follow the same template to develop the curriculum for training in a number of other cities this year, including Fort Worth
and Houston, Texas; Schenectady, N.Y.; Greenville, S.C.; Durham, N.C.;
and Evansville, Ind.
To help fill open positions in the Cincinnati area, CTL Aerospace, GE, Meyer Tool, Richards Industries and other local manufacturers "will actively review candidates from this new pool of potential employees," GE said in a news release.
"Many veterans and employers have difficulty translating the skills gained through military experience into civilian-workforce skill sets," said O'dell Owens, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
"Get Skills to Work helps ensure that skill sets meet employer needs. As demonstrated by the 11 veterans that completed Cincinnati State's pilot classes, veterans have great leadership and experience that can easily be adapted to the civilian workplace."
Get Skills to Work aims to train 100,000 veterans for advanced-manufacturing jobs by 2015, and to "empower employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans," according to GE.
The program's supporters include Alcoa Inc., Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., the Manufacturing Institute and actor Gary Sinise.
Sinise, who has launched a foundation to support veterans and first responders
, spoke at the certification ceremony earlier this month in Cincinnati.
"Military veterans have a lot to offer, including a strong work ethic, teamwork, problem-solving skills and the ability to perform under pressure," Sinise said in a news release. "These skills will serve veterans well in corporate America. [The] ceremony in Cincinnati illustrates that with the proper training and tools, we can provide our veterans support for a smoother transition to successful civilian employment."
Among the Cincinnati graduates is Adam Hemsath, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and earned 13 medals during his military career.
"There are various personal and professional challenges when transitioning from military to civilian life," Hemsath said. "But now that I have completed my MCCS certificate, I can pursue a long-term career with a focus in industrial mechanical maintenance. These skills will give me the competitive advantage that I need in today's marketplace."