Today’s veterans need to wake up to today’s manufacturing. The advanced manufacturing industry is estimating that because of a growing skills gap in the American workforce, some 600,000 jobs are being left unfilled for want of skilled workers. These are jobs in modern manufacturing that are high paying, often high tech, and not like your grandfather’s factory job — and employers are looking for veterans with the right skills to come knocking to fill them.
The truth is that modern manufacturing jobs are perfect for transitioning service members and veterans. With relatively little post-service training, you can be employed and living comfortably in a growing career field. Say goodbye to Segway mall cop jobs.
Former President of the National Association of Manufacturers Jerry Jasinowski recently wrote about this lack of skilled labor in today’s manufacturing industry: “Workers must be proficient in math, science, and computers. They must be able to learn and relearn their jobs on a daily basis.” Just like almost any modern veteran has done throughout their military careers.
Job descriptions in the industry almost always include requirements like the ability to work in a team environment, maintain control of all equipment, follow detailed instructions, or adjust to rapid task assignments. All of those are exact descriptions of the soft skills we so often highlight in military veterans. The only things missing are the hard skills needed to succeed, which often require just a certificate or associate’s degrees from a community college.
There are good jobs waiting for quality candidates right now, but you can’t get them by sitting on the couch in the barracks or behind your computer surfing for easy jobs. More than 500 manufacturing companies have joined the Get Skills to Work coalition because they are committed to hiring veterans, but you need to show your own commitment to working by getting the necessary skills. These companies have partnered with over 50 schools across the country to offer a wide array of industry-certified manufacturing training programs from certificates to full degrees that all accept the GI Bill.
If you want to see the incredible number of jobs available for veterans in the manufacturing industry check out the U.S. Manufacturing Pipeline, which allows you to apply for hundreds of good positions with companies specifically looking for veterans.
The American manufacturing industry is on the rise again and it needs the kinds of skills that veterans bring to the table. Throw in readily available skills training to your portfolio and you can keep on serving the nation as part of a growing U.S. economy, take care of your family, and have a career with limitless possibilities. The missing piece is you. Stop waiting and get to work!
Fred Wellman is a retired Army officer and veteran of four combat tours including Desert Storm and Iraq. He served as an aviator and public affairs officer before retiring in 2010. He founded ScoutComms, Inc., a Virginia-based, award-winning social enterprise communications, corporate social responsibility and philanthropic strategy firm supporting veterans and military families. He is on Twitter at @FPWellman.
Editor’s Note: GE and Get Skills to Work are clients of ScoutComms. GE is also a client of Hirepurpose.