Please welcome our Guest Blogger for the month of March-Tim Mix
There are a lot of great career opportunities out there for our returning veterans. Many companies are looking for just the kind of skills and experience that these veterans have to offer. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of advanced manufacturing, which not only needs their skills, but needs them now, and for jobs that remain unfilled while the demand for manufactured product continues to go up. According to the Manufacturing Institute, “80% of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs. Meanwhile thousands of service men and women return each month, possessing not only an unmatched work ethic but also rigorous technical training and experience.” The Manufacturing Institute has teamed with many major companies to create the Get Skills to Work coalition, which helps thousands of veterans to utilize their experience and expand their skill set to secure employment in areas including advanced manufacturing.

A recent article in Area Development states that the 1-1.5 million veterans leaving the military in the next five years will provide a perfect match for the large quantity of jobs going unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. Many state and federal programs are already in place to help make this match happen. But a key aspect of matching veterans with skilled manufacturing jobs will be to change some of the perception of what manufacturing really means. Eric Eversole, Executive Director of Hiring Our Heros, states “if you ask a veteran, ‘do you want to be in manufacturing?’ a percentage will say ‘I’m not going to work in a factory.’ I would ask a slightly different question: ‘Do you want to work with robots, lasers, and high-tech machinery?'”

The Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing (INAM) has been established by a grant from the Illinois Department of Labor to help bridge the skills gap by building a trained workforce for advanced manufacturing. INAM’s programs span a network of 21 colleges, and offers training to veterans seeking to expand their skills, in some cases using robots, lasers, and high-tech machinery. Certain programs offer college credit for activities that were performed while serving. Click here to see what programs are available at colleges in your area.

Some other notable resources for and about veterans transferring back to the workforce:

The Veterans’ Employment Training Service (VETS) site from the US Department of Labor offers great information and resources.

The US Chamber of Commerce has established Hiring Our Heros to provide assistance, tips, information, and event information to veterans.

The American Council on Education (ACE) offers information and resources on credit for prior learning for veterans.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) links to resources to help access military-friendly colleges and other educational opportunities. is a Chicago non-profit that seeks to match veterans with a variety of skilled positions in advanced manufacturing as well as other technical industries.

Veterans Manufacturing Institute accepts donations for machinery and equipment for use in veteran start-up companies.

GI Jobs offers career information and job listings.


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