Supply, Demand, and the T3WDI Bridge Between: Securing the Veteran Talent Pipeline into Advanced Manufacturing
The airwaves are justifiably full of data points on why transitioning service members and veterans are ideal candidates to fill vacancies in the civilian workforce. These data points come from the military services, veteran organizations, and numerous companies from across multiple sectors who seek to hire them. Through the course of connecting the dots, several really interesting points surface.
On the supply side, there are approximately ten thousand service members transitioning to the civilian workforce every month. The bulk of these are twenty somethings with a high school diploma, many months of specialized institutional leadership and skills training, and several years of experience solving tough problems requiring a high degree of creativity, innovation, and teamwork.
On the demand side, you have thousands of requirements to fill in the advanced manufacturing sector - the sector where innovation and traditional manufacturing connect. This sector is looking for people who are dependable, trainable, and interested in helping to create things through technologically advanced methods.
This leads to the question of how to build the bridge to allow the talent pool of people on the supply side to enter into the variety of workforce positions on the demand side. An approach we’re taking is to build a strategy and associated platform that links military installations with local colleges and universities to equip transitioning service members with industry driven in-demand advanced manufacturing skills.
This Troops to Technology Workforce Development Initiative, or T3WDI, is the bridge and is the next step in a process started earlier this summer by the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory where several dozen service members and veterans participated in an initial 6-week familiarization program. This initiative directly nests with the President’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) policy, is tailorable to match the focus areas of the respective Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation, and serves a key point in the recent NAMRI/SME position paper - to secure veterans into the advanced manufacturing talent pipeline.
Our efforts seek to leverage and enhance the already existing ecosystem of agencies, companies, structures, programs, relationships, trade associations, hiring activities, and numerous consortiums. This diverse team of teams will collaborate towards the common goal of creating a solid bridge for our service members to cross as they shed their uniforms and enter into meaningful and high demand employment in the advanced manufacturing workforce.