GE, Boeing to help veterans find advanced manufacturing jobs

Ted S. Warren/AP - Ramp workers stand near a Boeing 787 operated by All Nippon Airways during a maintenance delay at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Returning veterans seeking employment may soon find new opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

Industry giants like General Electric, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa, and the Manufacturing Institute today announced a collaboration to provide training and support to veterans to help them pursue careers in manufacturing.

The initiative, called “Get Skills to Work,” aims to match 100,000 veterans to manufacturing jobs by 2015.

The coalition hopes to raise awareness about manufacturing opportunities for veterans who don’t know exactly what they want to do upon returning from service, said Kris Urbauer, program manager for GE veteran initiatives.

“Get Skills to Work” will feature technical training programs, online resources for veteran job seekers, and an “employer toolkit” helping manufacturing businesses connect with veterans.

To connect potential employers to qualified veterans, the coalition is currently working on an online “badging” system to match certain military codes on a veteran’s resume to the occupation codes in manufacturing jobs, bringing relevant resumes to the recruiter’s attention. The badging system is slated to roll out by the end of this month.

Starting in January 2013, classes of veterans will be enrolled in a technical training program at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and additional training sites will operate in 10 other states.

The program could also help fill the 600,000 currently vacant jobs in the manufacturing sector, according to the National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons.

“The problem is manufacturers don’t know how to reach out to these folks, and military personnel don’t know how to translate their skills to manufacturers,”he said.

One such Marine Corps veteran recently sent his resume to Mike Haynie, executive director of the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families, who is participating in the initiative.

The young job seeker had extensive experience with tanks. His resume read: “I can drive a tank, fix a rank, and shoot a tank,” Haynie said. But in reality, “that young man has highly advanced skills in electric systems and hydraulic systems.”

To find an appropriate civilian job for his skills, he “needs to articulate that in a way that demonstrates his value,” Haynie said.

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