WASHINGTON, DC, -  The Manufacturing Institute’s Army career skills training program, Heroes MAKE America, graduated its second class of service members at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Heroes MAKE America is a full-time career skills program launched in partnership with the U.S. Army Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program and the USO Pathfinder Program aimed at closing the manufacturing skills gap by training our transitioning service members with critical skills and placing them on a path toward a rewarding manufacturing career. The program arms transitioning service members with in-demand qualifications and industry-specific certifications needed for today’s manufacturing workforce. Manufacturers highly value the core elements of military training that allow America’s soldiers to be the best in the world. The teamwork, commitment to mission, communication and critical thinking skills that are essential to mission success are also essential to manufacturing success.

Photo Credit: National Association of Manufacturers

“When these heroes come home, they deserve no less. That’s what Heroes MAKE America is all about,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We’re connecting some of our nation’s best and brightest with exactly the type of manufacturing career opportunities that can best utilize their in-demand expertise, and we’re offering exactly the kind of specialized training they need to not only land those jobs but make the most of them. Heroes may be a brand new initiative but, as program alums are demonstrating already, it offers the potential to change lives. That’s a huge win, not just for manufacturing but, more importantly, for these service members, their families and for our country.”

Today, more than 80 percent of manufacturers report a talent shortage in the industry, with nearly 391,000 open jobs. Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 service members exit the military and return to civilian life and the civilian workforce each year. Our service members have the leadership training manufacturers need in their workforce, and Heroes MAKE America helps them attain the necessary skills to build successful careers in the industry.

In just the past 10 weeks, program participants have earned up to 14 college credits and nine industry credentials, as well as career training in topics ranging from résumé writing to social media management and personal finance. The inaugural class of 13 soldiers landed more than 50 job interviews with an 85 percent placement rate into companies such as Goodyear, Dold Foods (Hormel), Norfolk Southern Railway, Waste Management and USAA. The second class of 13 soldiers graduating today has already landed 30 job interviews, and four have accepted jobs already.

Amid the success of the first two classes at Fort Riley, The Manufacturing Institute plans to expand Heroes MAKE America to Fort Hood in Texas this summer, with a goal of graduating a total of 125 students by the end of 2018 and upward of 350 students by the end of 2019.

The Heroes MAKE America program is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of world-class companies like the Arconic Foundation, Cooper Standard Foundation, Procter & Gamble, National Gypsum Company, Parker Hannifin Corporation and the Walmart Foundation.


The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers. The Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification and development of world-class manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.

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