Workshops for Warriors (WFW) is a GuideStar platinum-rated 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides training for veterans, wounded warriors and transitioning service members to fill America’s void of qualified CNC machining, 3-D printing, welding and advanced manufacturing workers.
The program provides veterans with extensive hands-on training on state-of-the-art equipment to gain employment in their chosen field. Students earn nationally-recognized third-party credentials in welding and machining, going on to become mill and lathe operators, parts designers and programmers.
There are currently 2.3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs that go unfilled each year. In 10 years, that demand will grow to 3.5 million. Workshops for Warriors addresses this need directly. Students earn stackable, portable credentials that allow them to obtain careers anywhere in the USA. To date, our graduates have earned more than 4,590 certifications as a result of this rigorous, 16-week curriculum.
Since 2008, WFW has trained and placed 613 LMI Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy veterans into high-paying careers with companies like Fox Racing, Ariel, General Dynamics NASSCO, SPAWAR and SpaceX with average annual salaries of $60,000.
Through private donations, grants, and now the GI Bill®, WFW provides transitioning veterans with a broad menu of training and certification within the nationally-recognized standards of The American Welding Society, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), MasterCam University and SolidWorks.
Looking ahead, Workshops for Warriors has initiated a strategic partnership that will add robotics design, management and repair to the menu of its advanced machining training curriculum.
The future of manufacturing
The health of our advanced manufacturing sectors affects the design, building and welding of components that are used on our ships, bridges and machinery. In addition to fueling a thriving economy, maintaining U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing is an issue of national security. As with any industry, innovation is essential to the short, medium and long-term sustainability of America’s advanced manufacturing sector. But this time, the innovation most desperately needed is in the form of a vast, capable and credentialed workforce. Workshops for Warriors has the vision, the leadership and sense of urgency to address these challenges.
While the hands-on training of Workshops for Warriors students receive is free of charge to our servicemen and women, it is not free of cost. Acquiring and maintaining state-of-the-art technology, teachers and materials costs Workshops for Warriors $25,000 per student per 16-week semester — $30,268 if needs-based living stipends are provided. With an impressive 94% job placement rate, waitlists to enter the program are in the hundreds each semester.
At Workshops for Warriors, we are rebuilding America’s advanced manufacturing base. We’ve spent years succeeding at our mission and performing valiantly. Now we’re confronted with an entirely new world, filled with uncertainty. There’s a paucity of skilled labor. A hungry, competitive overseas manufacturing base. And no viable training pipeline to fill available jobs or combat an eroding state of American readiness.
America needs a nationally viable training pipeline for the next generation. Workshops for Warriors has a proven model that is scalable, modular, and repeatable throughout the United States. Because the program is scalable by design, the only limitation on the number of graduates is funding.
We are embarking upon a $100 million expansion with the intent to establish San Diego as the epicenter for advanced green manufacturing training for veterans in transition. A “train the trainer” facility that, ultimately will allow us to replicate facilities at up to 103 markets across the U.S. is underway. As we grow, the number of advanced manufacturing training centers across America will increase.
Rebuilding American manufacturing, one veteran at a time™
America has long been recognized as the global leader in manufacturing innovation, but without a solid arsenal of qualified individuals to fill the 2.3 million advanced manufacturing job vacancies that exist today, America’s status as the undisputed leader in this critical space will continue to erode. Not only does this threaten the future vitality of our manufacturing base, it threatens America’s readiness to stave off attacks of foreign adversaries.
One of the few things both the Trump and Obama Administrations agree upon is the caliber of our program and the quality of our graduates. Both administrations have asked us to initiate plans for a train the trainer network of machining, robotics, machining repair, welding and QA operations across the nation.