First Class Of Veterans Complete ‘Get Skills To Work’ Program

With an estimated 600,000 open advanced manufacturing jobs across America, GSTW is joining major manufacturers — like Boeing and Alcoa — and educators to help close the skills gap through training and skills matching for U.S. veterans.

Cincinnati, OH — Today, The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute), in partnership with GE, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College,  Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin, today celebrated the accomplishments of the first group of U.S. veterans to complete classes from the Get Skills to Work (GSTW) program. 

With an estimated 600,000 open advanced manufacturing jobs across America, GSTW is joining major manufacturers and educators to help close the skills gap through training and skills matching for U.S. veterans. Eleven veterans participated in the completion ceremony at Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center. The event marks an important milestone for the nationwide program, which launched in October 2012. The program also aims to empower employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans.

“These veterans represent the brawn and brains that will keep our manufacturing base competitive,” said Jennifer McNelly, president, The Manufacturing Institute.  “Skilled workers are the most important assets to manufacturers, and we are proud to be partnering with employers to make their investments in veterans and workforce training have a real impact in communities across the country. Working with our partners, we will help create opportunities for transitioning service members to get the skills they need to access in-demand manufacturing jobs.” 

Today’s completion ceremony in Cincinnati included veterans who completed accelerated skills training in core manufacturing skillsets. The ceremony featured speakers Gary Sinise, actor & president, Gary Sinise Foundation; David Joyce, president and CEO GE Aviation; O’dell M. Owens, president, Cincinnati State; and Jim Golem, president, Cincinnati GSTW Advisory Board and Director of Human Resources, CTL Aerospace Inc.

To ensure that the skills training meets the immediate needs of local employers, coalition partners worked with local businesses to develop the Cincinnati State curriculum. This curriculum-building process will be repeated and tailored to each pilot city this year, including Ft. Worth and Houston, Texas; Schenectady, New York; Greenville, South Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; and Evansville, Indiana.

To help fill open positions in the Cincinnati area, local manufacturing firms, including GE, CTL Aerospace, Richards Industries, Meyer Tool, Acuren and Rhinestahl will actively review candidates from this new pool of potential employees.

The GSTW program includes three key pillars:

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.

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. Military veteran participants and employers can access these platforms at

Empowering Employers

Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) partnered with GE to develop and deploy a toolkit for employers focused on creating meaningful, lasting career opportunities for veterans in the advanced manufacturing sector. Available at the toolkit builds on work begun by the IVMF with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robin Hood in collaboration with McKinsey & Company. It includes 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.

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.

Initial investments in Get Skills to Work 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 GSTW 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

About The Manufacturing Institute

The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501 (c) 3 affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation's manufacturers. The Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-class manufacturing talent. Visit

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