Add Veterans and Service Members to Your Manufacturing Team

The hiring push in manufacturing offers much opportunity for interested service members, especially if vets are given skills like instrumentation training.

Whether it’s the boatloads of tired veterans and service members coming home to a severe shortage of civilian jobs, or the reports of military families drowning under credit card debt, two organizations are disgruntled enough to take action.

America Wants You [], an initiative to get corporate employers to find jobs for service members, has teamed up with the 10,000 Jobs Challenge to create more opportunity for military families. The two groups will be knocking on office doors to encourage all kinds of fields to consider veteran applicants and post certain jobs for service members. But given the current hiring push among the manufacturing industry, the 10,000 Jobs Challenge should spread its efforts to power plants. Manufacturing plants require a variety of both general and specific skills, and much can be learned from on-the-job or online industrial training.

Industry-specific training, whether online or on-the-job, often means more to managers and employers than a college degree. For instance, operations and control personnel are much better prepared for the job if they receive some instrumentation and control training. Service members who worked with software or electrical maintenance already have a basic knowledge that could be fine tuned for an instrumentation and control position.

With instrumentation and control training, vets can get familiar with PLCs and learn how to collect accurate measurement data. Depending on their position in the military, they likely already have an eye for detail and the utmost regard for safety procedures. But beyond whether or not veterans and service members could be capable plant workers—and they could—they need the opportunity. Some say they need the chance more than unemployed civilians due to mountains of military debt.

A report by the Financial Industry Regulation Foundation shined an unforgiving light on the poor financial state of many military families. The survey showed 27 percent of participating military families had more than $10,000 worth of credit card debt versus 16 percent of civilian families with similar debt. More than one third of the enlisted or retired members surveyed had a hard time affording their monthly bills, and 10 percent of mortgage borrowers admitted being late on one or more payments in the past two years.

But, with doubled efforts from America Wants You and help from sites like CareerBuilder, hopefully unemployment and debt rates among service members will begin to shrink. The men and women serving our country shouldn’t be the ones suffering from the nation’s economic shortcomings. So, if you’re hiring instrumentation technicians or will be soon, consider reserving jobs for veterans, active duty members, or retirees. They have a well of knowledge and unique experience that can be honed with control training, and frankly, we owe them.

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