Moving America Forward

Two Keys to the Future: 3-D Printing and Employed Veterans

April 4, 2014
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Two Keys to the Future: 3-D Printing and Employed Veterans
Visitors learn about advanced manufacturing technology at GE Garages. GE
GE is working to bridge the advanced manufacturing skills gap—and it's starting with veterans.

If you had a chance to use a 3-D printer, what would you print? Well, now you have your chance.

Garages, a high-tech, hands-on lab, is drawing visitors to its pop-up location in Washington, D.C. While there, people can try out 3-D printing and laser cutting technology, take part in open innovation, and learn more about these topics through a series of demos and classes. General Electric created Garages as part of its commitment to reinvigorate America’s interest in invention.

While printing out small bottle openers and colorful octopuses or writing on a giant white board about what the perfect refrigerator might feature, visitors can also learn about the way the latest tech innovations power GE products as well as career opportunities in American manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is really where the thought becomes the thing,” Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute (a nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers) said at an event co-hosted by GE and VetsinTech in the Garages space. “Manufacturing is the opportunity to come home and serve on our nation’s economic frontline.”

One target audience for this experience bringing technology and manufacturing to life is current and former military members in the D.C. area who might be interested in joining the more than 10,000 veterans working at GE facilities.

“To me, hiring a veteran is a good thing to do for the country, sure, but it’s also a great thing to do for the company,” says Seth Bodnar, an executive in Global Locomotive Operations at GE Transportation who joined the company after a career in the U.S. Army commanding detachments of Green Berets in multiple deployments.

When describing Get Skills to Work, a coalition between GE and other industry leaders to train veterans for careers in manufacturing, Bodnar says this approach presents a creative solution to the dual challenges of a shortage of skilled workers in manufacturing and the need for veterans to find lasting careers.

 

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