Get Skills to Work Coalition to Train And Match 100,000 Veterans For High-Tech Manufacturing Jobs

GE, Manufacturing Institute, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin Launch Coalition to Train U.S Veterans for Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing

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Goal is to Train and Match 100,000 Veterans by 2015

  • Accelerated skills training program offered in ten states
  • Online “badging” helps veterans translate military experience to civilian job opportunities
  • GE and Institute for Veterans and Military Families to create employer toolkit to expand and enhance hiring
  • Hands-on trainings at five TechShop locations enable veterans to use advanced manufacturing technologies

GE (NYSE: GE) joined with business, digital, academic and not-for-profit partners today to launch a new coalition that aims to train military veterans for jobs in advanced manufacturing, bolster the talent pipeline and enhance American competitiveness.

The Get Skills to Work coalition will focus on: accelerating skills training for U.S. veterans; helping veterans and employers translate military skills to advanced manufacturing jobs; and empowering employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans.

Get Skills to Work will be managed by the Manufacturing Institute and supported through financial and in-kind commitments from GE, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin. These initial investments will help 15,000 veterans translate military experience to corresponding advanced manufacturing opportunities and gain the technical skills needed to qualify for careers in this growing sector. The coalition is seeking additional partners to meet its goal of reaching 100,000 veterans by 2015. Companies and veterans interested in joining this effort or learning more can visit

“A strong manufacturing industry is central to the long-term health and success of our economy,” said Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. “But as technology advances, skillsets must be upgraded to ensure companies like GE have the talent to continue to fuel innovation. Today, many veterans are out of work, despite the nation’s growing industrial sector and increased demand for skilled workers. Through this initiative, we have an opportunity to help veterans with extraordinary leadership capabilities better compete for good paying jobs with a long-term future.”

Reportedly 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs remain open in the U.S. and more than 82 percent of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs. Meanwhile, one million veterans are expected to exit the armed forces over the next four years and will be transitioning to civilian careers.

The coalition commissioned an online survey of more than 1,000 veterans and active duty military members preparing to transition to the private sector. The survey found that while 76 percent of respondents are confident they will be as successful in their careers as they were in the military, one-third do not feel equipped to overcome the challenges of the transition to civilian life; the percentage rises to nearly half (48 percent) when surveying active duty military who are scheduled to transition in two years or less.

Paula Davis, president, Alcoa Foundation, said, “Veterans offer the technical, leadership and critical thinking skills that advanced manufacturing demands. Forming the Get Skills to Work coalition and coordinating with nonprofits to train, recruit and develop veterans is an exciting model that has the potential to change lives and produce a significant competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers. Alcoa is proud to invest in this worthwhile endeavor.”

Rick Stephens, Boeing senior vice president of human resources and administration, and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said, “Based on our experience recruiting and training veterans to work at Boeing, we believe the Get Skills to Work initiative could have a major impact on the hiring of veterans nationwide. Using many of the same tactics and tools, such as a website for transitioning veterans that includes a military-to-civilian skills translator, we have hired and trained nearly 3,000 veterans in the past 21 months for jobs at Boeing. It’s a proven approach for matching the skills of those who have served our country to the hiring needs of American businesses. We’re honored to be part of Get Skills to Work, and look forward to integrating our efforts with the coalition.”

Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO, said, “America’s veterans want and deserve the opportunity to contribute to our society and provide for their families. At Lockheed Martin, we believe it is our duty to give them that opportunity. There is no greater way to say ‘thanks’ for all their service and sacrifice, which enable all of us to live safe and secure lives, and pursue our dreams every day. The investment this coalition makes in training will provide them this opportunity, and strengthen tomorrow’s workforce.”

Today, the four founding companies employ approximately 64,000 U.S. military veterans.

The program will consist of three elements:

  • Accelerating Skills Training

To help prepare veterans whose military service experience doesn’t immediately qualify them for available manufacturing jobs, coalition partners will work with local community and technical colleges to establish the Manufacturing Institute’s “Right Skills Now” program, which fast-tracks industry-recognized certifications and offers training in core manufacturing technical skill areas. Partners will engage their regional supply base to ensure the certifications being offered meet the immediate skill needs of local employers, and will work with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as local military transition offices and bases, to recruit veteran participants.

The first class of veterans will be enrolled in January 2013 near GE Aviation’s manufacturing hub in Cincinnati, Ohio at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Additional training sites will open throughout 2013, servicing: Ft. Worth and Houston, Texas; Schenectady, New York; Greenville, South Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; greater Los Angeles, California; and Evansville, Indiana. Boeing will continue to train its workers in the Puget Sound area of Washington state, Charleston, South Carolina, St. Louis, Missouriand Philadelphia, Pennsylvania through existing partnerships with Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, readySC, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, St. Louis Community College and Delaware County Community College.

“The Manufacturing Institute is proud to be partnering with GE and other committed employers to make their investments in veterans and manufacturing workforce training have a real impact in communities across the country,” said Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute. “Working with our partners, we will help create real opportunities for veterans to get the skills they need to access in-demand manufacturing jobs.”

  • Translating Military Experience into Civilian Opportunities

Many veterans and employers have difficulty recognizing and translating the skills gained through military training and experience into civilian workforce skill sets. The Manufacturing Institute, working with Futures Inc., has created a digital badge system to help translate applicable Military Occupational Specialty codes (MOS), the U.S. military’s system for identifying jobs, to civilian positions in advanced manufacturing. Skills matching and badge distribution will be supported by the US Manufacturing Pipeline, a centralized online hub that connects manufacturing employers with veterans and transitioning military personnel. Get Skills to Work will also leverage LinkedIn to enable veterans to build their professional profiles and relevant skills on LinkedIn. To boost the number of job opportunities available to credentialed veterans, GE will sponsor an advanced manufacturing “job-posting drive” on the LinkedIn platform. Military veteran participants and employers can access these platforms at

  • Empowering Employers

GE and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) will develop and deploy a toolkit for employers focused on creating meaningful, lasting career opportunities for veterans in the advanced manufacturing sector. The toolkit will leverage work begun by the IVMF, with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. It will share research and proven best practices from more than 40 businesses to deliver processes, resources and programs that will enable more employers to effectively recruit, on-board, support and mentor veterans in the civilian workforce. The toolkit will be available to employers participating in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative and the 100,000 Jobs Mission, as well as the broader business community. For more information please visit

Additional support:
Education and promotion: To help drive further industry participation, the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs, will lead efforts to educate and engage potential corporate partners. On a parallel track, GE has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to help raise awareness among military communities and drive veteran recruitment into the training program. Founded by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to supporting veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.

Sinise said, “After the events of September 11th, I just felt compelled to serve the needs of men and women in uniform and people that are serving our country. Through this work, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with veterans who are returning home from combat without a clear path for how they will succeed in civilian life. This program will give them an opportunity to begin laying a foundation for satisfying, long-term careers as they transition back to the civilian workforce.”

Advisory Council: A Get Skills to Work Advisory Council comprising active and retired military leaders will be engaged to ensure coalition partners understand the unique needs of veterans and transitioning military personnel, and that the program effectively delivers solutions to help close the manufacturing skills gap and bolster the talent pipeline.

Get Skills to Work Advisory Council member and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said, “As our nation’s heroes transition back into civilian life, I applaud these employers for finding effective ways to hire them, while ensuring these extraordinary young men and women, disciplined and eager to make a difference, get the job training and career counseling they need to succeed. Our veterans have sacrificed much for us and we must do all we can to support while seeking to repay the debt we owe them as a country as they start new and successful careers.”

Hands-on Experience: To provide veterans with opportunities for hands-on experience with the technology found in advanced manufacturing, GE is developing, with TechShop, training tracks for veterans in Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C. and New York.

Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop said, “Many people have an outdated view of the skills required for jobs in today’s advanced manufacturing environment. Once they have a chance to discover modern prototyping and manufacturing processes and participate in a hands-on workshop they see the possibilities for channeling their creativity and interest in making things into a career.”

About GE
GE is honored to have over 10,000 U.S. military veterans continue their careers with the company and recently set a goal of hiring 1,000 veterans each year for the next five years. Through its partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, GE has hired over 800 veterans in 2012 and has supported over thirty Hiring Our Heroes transition workshops, coaching over 2,000 veterans. GE is also an active member of and donor to several leading national military and veteran support organizations, such as Disabled American Veterans, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Medal of Honor Foundation, among others.

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at

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