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Manufacturers Celebrate Veterans at Heroes MAKE America Event

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Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston met with The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America cohort at Fort Bragg.

On Tuesday, North Carolina’s Fort Bragg was the site of an event to celebrate America’s veterans and to highlight opportunities available in manufacturing for transitioning service members and their families.

The event was presented by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The program highlighted the Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program, which aims to build a mutually beneficial pipeline between the military and manufacturing. Major manufacturers like Samsung, Novelis and Ingersoll Rand and the Arconic Foundation have supported the program and continue to be partners in supporting veterans who are interested in the rewarding careers modern manufacturing offers.

“Heroes MAKE America helps transitioning service members develop a well-paying, interesting and productive career after they complete their service,” said Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute. “These individuals are in possession of the exact qualities and advanced skills that manufacturers seek, and the program prepares them be leaders in the industry.”

More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year. There are about 500,000 jobs open in the manufacturing industry right now, and estimates suggest that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028.

“The manufacturing industry presents an opportunity where specialized skills are utilized and workers contribute to projects that improve the world around them each and every day,” said Lee. “Heroes MAKE America connects transitioning service members to careers where they feel valued, inspired and where they can leverage the skills and training they developed in the military. Manufacturers that hire Heroes graduates also get workers with advanced specializations whose experiences make them prepared for new training and who show up on day one ready to lead and complete their new mission.”

The Heroes MAKE America program is growing rapidly, exploring new training options for 2020 and beginning to include participants from the National Guard as well as military spouses and fully separated veterans. The program is also planning to pilot online and hybrid models to encourage more participants who aren’t able to join full-time, diversifying its offerings and expanding its partnerships to include additional manufacturers and opportunities for veterans. So far this year, the program has graduated more than 125 individuals. More than half of all Heroes participants have over a decade of military service, and approximately one-quarter of Heroes graduates are in supervisory roles. The average salary of all graduates is nearly $70,000, with those in hourly roles making an average of $20 an hour.

The event’s program featured an informal reception, remarks by retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston and a panel of Heroes MAKE America graduates—including Joseph Smith, who has previously been profiled by the NAM.

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