For most of us in the US Army community, it’s no secret that the skills many of our service members master in uniform do not transition into the civilian world. The Military spends 4 months training someone for Military life, but just 4 days training someone for civilian life.
Many service members transition out of the Military with a family to support, which makes traditional education more difficult. Even those without families often need to accept a low-paying job just to make ends meet, which means he/she cannot focus on school. This, of course, is assuming that he/she knows what type of career path they want to follow that will be rewarding. The reality is that many Veterans are unsure where to go once transitioning out of the Military, and according to a study by the National Association for Veteran Serving Organizations, 48% of Veterans say that transitioning into civilian life was more difficult than expected. The stresses of not having a clear path once transitioning is a big factor that leads to homelessness, substance abuse, and even suicide.
For many other service members, however, the skills he/she learns in the Military do translate well into the civilian world. It seems like these service members should have a head-start once they exit the Military, but unfortunately this experience does not translate over into the credentials needed to get a job in the civilian world. This is where these nationally recognized credentials become so important.
Workshops for Warriors Offers a Clear Path for Our Veterans Through Free Advanced Manufacturing Training and Certification
Workshops for Warriors is the only training pipeline in the Nation that trains and certifies Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members into advanced manufacturing careers. This means that our Veterans attend the Workshops for Warriors school and leave with Nationally recognized credentials in-hand—the ticket to a rewarding career in an industry where America is falling short (more on that later).
The most amazing part? The Workshops for Warriors nonprofit school offers these 16-week accelerated programs all at no cost to the Veteran. A 15-year combat Veteran himself, Founder Hernán Luis y Prado was tired of seeing more of his friends die of drugs and suicide in San Diego than from bombs and bullets in Baghdad, and he was going to change that. He accomplished this feat by creating a metric-driven organization that gives Veterans tangible credentials for a brighter future upon graduation—Workshops for Warriors.
More Details on
the Workshops for Warriors Programs
For those who don’t know, advanced manufacturing is comprised of several different disciplines. Workshops for Warriors (WFW) offers students two courses of study: machining and welding. More specifically, these courses include welding and fabrication, CAD/CAM programming, and CNC Machining (CNC milling, CNC turning, CNC laser, and CNC waterjet). All programs are taught to the Nationally recognized standards of the American Welding Society (AWS), the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), SolidWorks, Mastercam, Immerse2Learn, and more.
It’s also important to note that all credentials earned at the school are portable, so students can take them anywhere in the world or back to their home states and earn jobs, as well as stackable, which allows students to continue to advanced their skills, either at WFW or in the future at a different institution.
How the Advanced Manufacturing Landscape Benefits the Workshops for Warriors School
So how is Workshops for Warriors able to make these programs free for the Veterans? Because the GI Bill application is an 8-year process and WFW is currently in year 6, they receive no federal, state, or municipal funding. The school is currently funded by corporate and private donations, as well as by Luis y Prado’s for-profit company, WFW Industries, soon to be VETPOWERED. Thanks to major supporters and donors such as Haas Automation, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company, Amada, and more, Workshops for Warriors is able to teach on $6 million worth of cutting-edge equipment and with award winning instructors.
Many of WFW’s major donors are actually investing in their industry through Workshops for Warriors. According to The Manufacturing Institute, there is expected to be 3.5 million advanced manufacturing jobs created over the next decade due to natural business growth and a retiring workforce, but 2 million of those jobs are set to go unfilled due to lack of skilled labor. The industry needs quality workers with the right skillset and they need it fast in order to stay sustainable, and WFW provides that, one Veteran at a time.
As for transitioning service members, in San Diego the Military will allow those within 6 months of transitioning to go to Workshops for Warriors on a TAD (temporary assigned duty) work order. This is something other, non Veteran-focused schools, cannot offer.
Learn more about their impact here.
So What’s Next?
Workshops for Warriors can be replicated all across the Nation. Hernán was the recipient of the Champion of Change Award by the White House in 2012 where he was asked to build 103 of these schools across the country. However, in order to make this program available outside of San Diego, funding is crucial. It costs $12,000 to put just one Veteran through a WFW program each semester, and every semester WFW certifies between 50-60 students.
You can help them by spreading the word about WFW and if you’re looking to support Veterans in the San Diego area, help WFW offset the cost of training with a donation. Donate at wfwusa.org to help serve those who served our country.
Let’s help Workshops for Warriors bring advanced manufacturing back to America, one Veteran at a time!