HEROES Make America Program Copyright Dave Bohrer, National Association of Manufacturers
Graduates at the ceremony of the inaugural class of the Heroes MAKE America program.

Program Connecting Soldiers to Manufacturing Jobs Expands in Texas

"Heroes MAKE America is more than just a game-changer for an industry in need of skilled workers—it’s an important way to give back to dedicated men and women who have lived a life of service in uniform,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee.

The manufacturing community is finding workers in the form of veterans.

While 80% of manufacturers report difficulty filling open positions, there are more than 200,000 service members that return to civilian life each year in search of a new career. These veterans possess not only sound leadership, strong character, and an exemplary work ethic, but also rigorous technical training and experience, according to the Manufacturing Institute (part of the National Association of Manufacturers.)

In an effort to connect those veterans to jobs, the Institute created the Heroes MAKE America program in January of 2018.

On August 6 NAM announced that due to the success of the program it was being expanded to Fort Hood, Texas one of the world’s largest military installations.

“Heroes MAKE America is more than just a game-changer for an industry in need of skilled workers—it’s an important way to give back to dedicated men and women who have lived a life of service in uniform,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “Heroes has helped provide pathways to well-paying and high-skill careers for several classes of returning soldiers at Fort Riley, already and I believe it will continue to do so at Fort Hood today. We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors who continue to make this important program possible.”

Heroes MAKE America is a full-time, 10-week career skills program that launched in partnership with the U.S. Army Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program at Fort Riley and the USO Pathfinder Program at Fort Riley, Kansas. The program will have a special focus on hard-to-fill production jobs. Participants earn 14 college credits resulting in a Certified Production Technician Certificate. There are 9 industry-specific certifications, including Safety in Manufacturing Production, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Processes and Production, Maintenance Awareness, CPT + Hands-On issued by MSSC; plus, Fork Lift Operator, and OSHA 10 issued by Washburn Institute of Technology, and WorkKeys Applied Math and Reading for Information.

Other benefits of the program include manufacturing plant tours and networking opportunities, manufacturing career training, including resume and cover letter writing, social media management and a personal finance course.

The inaugural class graduated in March Fort Riley, Kansas. To date, more than 85% of Heroes MAKE America graduates have been placed successfully into jobs after completing the program. Fort Riley has graduated 26 soldiers over two classes thus far. The goal is to graduate at least 125 soldiers by the end of 2018 and at least 350 soldiers by the end of 2019.

Sponsors of the program include the Allergan Foundation, Arconic Foundation, Cooper Standard Foundation, National Gypsum Company, Newpark Resources, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Procter & Gamble and the Walmart Foundation, as well as Association Partner Network sponsors: Associated Equipment Distributors, National Fluid Power Association and the Vinyl Siding Institute, Heroes MAKE America is growing rapidly since launching at Fort Riley, Kansas, at the beginning of 2018.

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