Four of the largest U.S. manufacturers announced on Monday, October 15, that they had developed a plan to help military veterans who are looking for civilian jobs by training them for work in the manufacturing sector, Reuters reports.
According to the news source, General Electric, Alcoa, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin have all teamed up to fund the "Get Skills to Work Coalition," which hopes to train as many as 15,000 veterans and then help them find a job with any one of the companies. The firms say that veterans would make great manufacturing workers as they transition back into civilian jobs, considering they've already learned the necessary skills during their military tenure.
"I look at this as a catalyst," said GE chief executive Jeff Immelt at an event unveiling the initiative. "We're looking for other manufacturers to join us."
The Manufacturing Institute will manage the coalition, while GE will invest the most upfront, pumping $6 million into the program. The groups will begin work as soon as January, which will take place at the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Ohio, located near the GE Aviation facility. Over the course of 2013, the program will expand to nine different institutions around the country.
Through the effort, veterans will receive training from community and technical colleges to help them transfer the skills they learned while in the military to a factory setting, and also help potential employers recruit veterans to fill their workforce needs. The program will also develop on-the-job training programs for companies to implement.
Generally, unemployment among all veterans sits lower than the national average, but, according to national data, the current unemployment rate of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is at about 9.8 percent - two percentage points higher than the national average.
Temporary employment firms have also played a role in ensuring veterans find work after returning from service through job fairs and recruitment events.