by Amanda Rosenblatt
Every day, the manufacturing industry furthers its legacy by attracting a younger generation to pick up the future mantle. The industry is also being empowered by the organization Workshops for Warriors, who seeks to obtain for military veterans these current, and future, crucial jobs.
On June 23rd, Shop Floor Automations got to attend an NTMA (National Tooling & Machining Association) event where the organization spoke of the resources it provides to veterans who come home from serving us. Workshops for Warriors also prides itself on helping those soldiers who come home wounded, who can have anxieties about re-joining the workforce due to physical limitations and PTSD.
The event drew a sizable crowd who met in the main office, which was a large, sunny room with communal desks and awards scattered throughout. Hernán Luis y Prado, the founder of the program, was all smiles as he shook everyone’s hand and led them on a tour of the facilities outside.
“It’s great to love our veterans,” Hernán said during the tour. “But love alone doesn’t get our vets these jobs.”
Hernán definitely means business when it comes to helping out his fellow veterans. Having served in the Navy, he saw firsthand that transitioning from serving in the military to civilian life was a struggle. The current Workshops for Warriors center, with a large workstation of computers, $6 Million worth of equipment donations (from Haas and Reliance Steel & Aluminum), and various other niches of the manufacturing field to learn about, is truly “the school that America built,” as Hernán puts it. Read more below!
The foundation started in 2008 and they began to provide courses in 2011. This year, in 2016, they administered their 1000th certification. Hernán, who is proud of everyone who takes place in the program, happily said during the tour that Lyle Palm, their Dean of Welding, was recently honored by the American Welding Society with their Excellence in Welding Award.
When first coming into the office, as well as returning from a tour of the facilities for a dinner time reception, there was a student Ryan continually working with a laser machine. We learned he is in advanced courses and is a combat veteran who has earned 14 nationally recognized certifications through programs from Workshops for Warriors. He was already offered a great job in Michigan that he will start working later this year. We also have more photos from the event we attended, and the facilities, here on Facebook.
Aside from expanding their current location, they are excited for something big happening in their future. Workshops For Warriors, after an application process of 8 years (they are currently in year 6 of the wait), will be a program veterans can use the GI Bill for. This means, while the program is already free to veterans, that they will soon have funds for housing and other applicable costs that will make their lives a lot less stressful while trying to attain these necessary occupational skills. This is expected to begin in the Winter of 2018, about ten years after the program first got its start.
Their big goal at the moment is to build more facilities so that they can offer classes to 450 students per year instead of about 100 students per year the school currently allows. While supplies are appreciated, financial donations will help them to be able to gain more instructors and necessary space for more equipment, since they currently receive no federal, state, or municipal funding.
If you would like to donate to Workshops for Warriors, please contact Amy at [email protected] or call 619-550-1620 for more information. We also invite you to follow them on Twitter at @WorkForWarriors.
We are also on Twitter at @SFA_inc and are always happy to answer questions about shop floor solutions. Still run on floppy drives, or want an easier way to track data from your machines? Call us toll-free at 877-611-5825.