Thanks to impending U.S. military budget cuts, tens of thousands of Army National Guard personnel will be moving into the civilian workforce beginning this fall.

Manufacturing execs are watching this development closely because many of those job hunters will have skills that could benefit their workforces.

One group uniquely poised to contribute as this wave of candidates starts looking for work is American Jobs for America's Heroes.

Since its founding two years ago, this campaign -- an alliance of the National Guard and three nonprofit groups -- has been matching civilian employers with guard members, veterans and their spouses.      

The arm of the AJAH campaign tasked with bringing employers into the fold is a nonprofit based in Roswell, Ga., called the Center for America. That group announced in mid-March that it had signed up its 1,000th employer. And the number keeps growing: At press time it stood at 1,100.

The lead corporate sponsor for the American Jobs for America's Heroes campaign is Phillips 66 (IW 500/3), and two-thirds of the companies that have signed on are manufacturing businesses, says Steve Nowlan, director of AJAH and president of the Center for America.

"We started this campaign at the request of the Army National Guard two years ago because they recognized that 30% to 50% of the troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had no jobs," Nowlan says. "Many of these were young men and women who had been deployed two or three times and had never worked in the private sector."