GE, in collaboration with the Manufacturing Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), announced that 190 new manufacturers have joined the Get Skills to Work (GSTW) coalition. The increase of employers participating in the initiative will further expand career opportunities for U.S. veterans in advanced manufacturing.
Many of the new coalition members are small- to mid-sized manufacturers, which often face a shortage of skilled workers. More than 82% of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs.
The companies will receive access to online resources to help connect them with veterans who possess skills important to manufacturers. These tools include, LinkedIn and the US Manufacturing Pipeline, which showcases digital “Military Manufacturing Badges” for veterans with experience in welding, machining, logistics, and other key high-demand occupations. Also announced, companies participating in the coalition will have their jobs appear on the Fast Track program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Founded last year, the GSTW coalition helps veterans and employers translate military skills to in-demand advanced manufacturing positions, accelerate skills training for U.S. veterans, and empower employers with tools to recruit, onboard, and mentor veterans. The addition of 190 new manufacturers represents a significant expansion of the coalition whose original members include GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa, and the Manufacturing Institute.
The GSTW coalition also announced an additional 1,000 training slots for veterans at TechShop, a membership-based do-it- yourself workshop and prototyping studio that supports both advanced manufacturing skills and entrepreneurism. The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation has also linked its partnership with TechShop by joining the GSTW coalition.
The additional TechShop training packages, online tool expansions, and 190 new GSTW members were announced at the GE Veterans Network (GEVN) National Summit, which was established to bring greater visibility to GE's veterans and highlight what the private sector can do to support U.S. veterans.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt says, “More than a million service members will be transitioning out of the military over the next five years, providing employers and our country with candidates who bring technical proficiency and leadership. So hiring veterans makes good business sense. Through Get Skills to Work, GE is proud to work with fellow manufacturers and employers to train veterans in advanced manufacturing and help connect them to jobs. Ultimately, we can help veterans and drive the economic recovery.”
Jay Timmons, president and CEO, of the National Association of Manufacturers, states, “Our returning military personnel have learned valuable skills through their service to our country and have demonstrated an ability to work and perform under pressure. The NAM is proud to partner with GE and many manufacturers of all sizes to strengthen America’s workforce and help our veterans find real opportunities during a time of transition.”
Manufacturing Industry Drives Veteran Employment and U.S. Competitiveness
With more than an estimated 600,000 open jobs, the manufacturing industry can play a key role in helping veterans return to the civilian workforce. However, according to a recent report by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), there are currently 1.9 million unemployed veterans nationwide and more than 69% of veterans cite “finding a job” as the greatest challenge to transitioning back to the civilian world.
Gary Sinise, actor/humanitarian, founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation and a GE partner in the GSTW program, said, “Simply put, veteran hiring is a matter of supply and demand. GE and GSTW partners are ensuring that veterans will not only have the necessary skills to transition to the civilian workforce, but that they are also successfully matched to employers and open positions.”
With support from its partners and growing member base, the GSTW program will help 15,000 veterans translate military experience to corresponding advanced manufacturing opportunities. The coalition is seeking additional partners and has set the goal of hiring 100,000 veterans by 2015.
In addition to adding new partners, the GSTW coalition also announced:
- The launch of the manufacturing track of the U.S. Chamber’s Fast Track program. Starting today, Fast Track will be a one-stop shop for veterans searching for careers in manufacturing.
- Using data from the Veterans Job Bank of the federal government’s National Resource Directory, the track will include geographic representation on manufacturing careers and forecasts on the fastest-growing manufacturing markets in the U.S.
- The addition of 1,000 TechShop training slots for veterans. The GSTW coalition partnered with the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation to offer veteran skills training through TechShop. The GSTW coalition announced that it would add 1,000 training slots to the VA's existing sponsorship commitment of 2,000 memberships.
- TechShop’s skills training program offers free membership, professional instruction, hands-on training, and access to its world class workspaces, machines, tools and a supportive community of product designers, developers and engineers.
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel (ret.), executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, says, “As thousands of service members return home each month, the GSTW coalition is building a pipeline of U.S. manufacturing jobs and career opportunities for these men and women. Through badging, skills training, career fairs and Fast Track, GE and other leading manufacturers are demonstrating their continued commitment to transitioning service members.”
Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, adds, “TechShop offers a great opportunity for veterans who would like to explore advanced manufacturing and other fields that require hands on experience with modern prototyping and design equipment and software. TechShop empowers veterans as part of a community of highly skilled makers to contribute to America’s economy.”
Jonah Czerwinski, director of the VA Center for Innovation, says, “The GSTW coalition represents an exciting new avenue for the VA to expand economic opportunity for veterans. Advanced manufacturing is a promising pathway for those who served our nation in uniform to serve an important role in our nation’s economy.”