While manufacturing is no longer the number one industry employing Americans, it’s still a vital source for jobs, as the U.S. is the world’s second largest manufacturer. And as the military continues to downsize, more veterans will be looking for work that builds on the skills they developed during their service, so the U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advanced Manufacturing Internship for veterans.
The first six-week-long program of classes was held at Pellissippi State in Tennessee this summer, and it featured hands-on training at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.
Lonnie Love, group leader of the program, told Kelsey Pape of WBIR, “Right now there are about 10,000 active duty military members that are leaving the military every month. What we want to do is kind of tap off some of those that really have aptitude for manufacturing, give them some skills, and help them find great careers in the manufacturing industry.”
The veterans got hands-on training in how to use manufacturing machines — even learning how to use a 3D printer to create a car. They also were educated about working with a variety of materials, including ABS plastics, carbon fiber and titanium.
According to Pape, several of the program’s graduates have already received some interest from employers.
The U.S. Department of Energy hopes to offer this program in different locations across the country in the coming years, so more veterans will be receiving training in the latest manufacturing techniques.