It’s apparent that there’s a significant disparity between the jobs available and the lack of skilled workers to fill them, so one of the major questions at hand is just that: Who are these people? Who are these mythical workers that will arrive to save the day and help American manufacturing continue to expand? Do they exist? Where will they come from?
That’s why there are so many initiatives focusing on training younger students to fall in love with STEM and dispel many of the misconceptions around manufacturing. It’s a fantastic field to enjoy and prosper in, and there are jobs out there to be had.
However, another commonly overlooked subgroup of workers that would be a great help in closing the gap are veterans. This seems to be a natural fit in many ways, and more importantly, in the next five years, because between 1 and 1.5 million members of the U.S Armed Forces will leave the military. The Department of Defense reports that finding employment is their number-one need when returning home.
Here are a few of the ways in which veterans are aptly suited for a career in manufacturing, and why the industry can be a fantastic long-term fit to help close the skills gap and provide veterans with a fulfilling and successful career as a civilian.
- The Military Has Manufacturing Jobs: Jobs in the military like combat engineer, weapons repairer, logistics planner, or advance welder all translate to civilian jobs with many of the same skillsets. For instance, an advanced welder in the military has the specific welding training necessary for operating equipment, using power tools, and working with torches. And when military machinists transition out of the military, the top manufacturing firms hope to hire these workers to operate at advanced levels within the company. This isn’t the case with every job in the armed forces, but there are more similarities than may first meet the eye.
- Group Work: In 2014, Tesla Motors embarked upon a mission to hire as many veterans as possible to work on their cars? Why? Veterans are used to working as part of a tightly-knit groups. Teamwork, chains of command, and responsibility are all important parts of military jobs that are just as valuable to manufacturers. The same goes for advanced technical, electrical, and mechanical skills that often are necessary for the auto industry.
- Hard Work: It’s not just technical skills that are in demand. A strong work ethic, commitment, leadership, and discipline are all common qualities that vets share. And in the words of CNBC, “Veterans can parachute into a new project or work space, get the lay of the land, and learn quickly. Whether it’s by seas as a Navy officer or by land as an Army soldier, military personnel are used to changing jobs and locations almost regularly.
For more information on companies dedicated to veterans, check out the info here.
photo credit: Marines march in 2011 New York Veterans Day Parade [Image 1 of 10] via photopin (license)