As thousands of veterans transition from combat to civilian life, many will require assistance in securing new careers. Manufacturers looking to hire ex-servicemen and servicewomen will need ways to expedite their hiring process to fill legions of open positions. This month, The Manufacturing Institute announced several manufacturing-specific hiring events that will connect pre-screened veteran candidates with employers, in an effort to close the widely reported labor skills gap.
In February, President Barack Obama announced plans to remove 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by early 2014. The veterans who return to the U.S. bring a wealth of manufacturing-philic knowledge home with them, but very often, many, if not most, are lost in career translation as they struggle to identify and promote their transferable skills.
Manufacturers, who are reporting having difficulty finding workers will the right skills, can turn to such hiring events to find vetted candidates for the jobs they need to fill the fastest. A recent joint study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute on manufacturing revealed that there are as many as 600,000 unfilled manufacturing job openings in the U.S., and most of the study’s survey respondents (74 percent) reported workforce and skills shortages, which are having a “significant impact” on their ability to expand and improve operations.
One proactive solution to connect veterans with high-demand manufacturing jobs is the Manufacturing Institute’s Get Skills to Work Coalition, which was launched last October with support from GE, Alcoa, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. As part of the initiative, The Manufacturing Institute, along with Futures Inc., today is hosting a veteran-only hiring event at Fort Hood, Texas. Over 150 veterans will be pre-screened and matched to job openings offered by participating companies.
The Fort Hood hiring event is one of several events aimed at getting veterans into manufacturing work and potential careers this summer. Additional events will be held at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, on July 24, and at Fort Drum in New York on Aug. 14.
Honing In on Skills Sets for Manufacturing Success
Veterans can prepare for manufacturing hiring events by turning to the Get Skills To Work website and accessing the US Manufacturing Pipeline career assessment questionnaire to find out which specific industry careers best match their skills and interests. Members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), of which the Manufacturing Institute is an affiliate, can access the Manufacturing Pipeline to connect employers with thousands of eligible candidates.
Ex-military personnel can also get civilian work credentials. The Manufacturing Institute, with Futures Inc., has joined in the effort to issue veterans up to 11 digital badges for each of their manufacturing skills — ranging from CNC machine operators to welders. Veterans can sign up and enter their Military Occupation Codes (MOCs), which are translated to “badges” that can be used to qualify for high-demand careers in manufacturing. Badges are distributed based on current expertise.
“You can relate these digital badges to eagle scout badges. With the digital age, everyone applies for jobs online, and this is an easy way for applicants to say to employers, ‘I have the skills that you need,’” AJ Jorgenson, the Manufacturing Institute’s director of communications, told IMT Career Journal.
Jorgenson noted that based on how many veterans are hired from the Fort Hood event today, the Manufacturing Institute will grow and alter its future events.
RELATED: See IMT Career Journal’s previous veteran coverage below.