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This New Program Fast Tracks Veterans Into Manufacturing Jobs
On March 24, a group of student veterans spent the morning on Reddit answering questions about a new program to help vets find desirable, lucrative careers. This group is part of the West Coast pilot called Troops to Technology Workforce Development Initiative, or T3WDI, a new type of veteran employment initiative, which launched last year based off a Department of Energy program at Oak Ridge National Lab.
The veterans engaged in the Reddit post are all individuals who separated from the military within the past two years. They are like most other veterans who recently left the service --- not sure what they want to do, and wary of false promises made by businesses, colleges, and even the Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite the lack of clarity, everyone in the group --- who all entered the pilot through Las Positas College in Northern California --- managed to get internships working at Lawrence Livermore, one of the most advanced technology labs in the country. And now they are receiving the training and education they need to get hired after graduation, if not before.
Until recently, Paul Cordner was a machinist mate in the Navy. Now he is interning for Lawrence Livermore National Lab and working toward a two-year mechanical engineering technology degree at Las Positas College in California. Via email he described the program’s benefits in a way that should resonate with many vets: “Before [T3WDI], I had never really had the chance to see what a career I am working toward was like first hand.”
The main difference is that T3WDI isn’t about any one job or one veteran. Brynt Parmeter, the retired Army colonel who orchestrates the pilot program, thinks about things differently. “It’s a two-fold problem,” he said in an email. “Reduce the skills gap in advanced manufacturing, and reduce un- and under-employment among transitioning service members.” Now he travels around the country talking to companies and schools about how they can work together to build bridges between a military and commercial skill set.
The T3WDI approach focuses on skills, not veterans. Former service members just happen to be the best people for the job. “It’s about improving the capacity of the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology sectors by increasing the number of people who have the skills required to fill their current and future vacancies,” says Parmeter. The program works with any collection of educational groups and businesses that offer a clear pathway to a job.
This is a completely new way of increasing employment. Everything about T3WDI and its West Coast pilot shows how it diverges from business as usual. The Reddit AMA is a great example. Instead of exaggerated claims by the program about how you can always get a job, the actual veterans in the program answered personal questions about the culture, the day-to-day work and responsibilities, as well as the struggles they face trying to balance school, work, and family. It’s an unfiltered look into education as a veteran.
In response to a question about culture, former Marine Corps Cpl. Fernando Campos said, “[p]eople definitely look up to you to do the right thing, professionally. So as veterans, fitting in, is not a problem.” The program is intended to help people get the information they really need from other folks just a few years ahead of them dealing with the same stuff.
T3WDI is not a solution to every aspect of veterans employment. It is, however, a good attempt at a new way to get vets stable, high-paying jobs. There are currently 600,000 unfilled advanced manufacturing jobs across the country, and more on the way. Veterans will be a big part of the return of manufacturing to America, and manufacturing will be a big source of good jobs for veterans.
Editor’s Note: The author works with Brynt Parmeter, who is quoted in this article.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.