What can manufacturers do to attract and retain talented veterans? Samsung, the founding sponsor of The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America initiative, hosted a webinar to answer that question—with industry leaders, government officials and veterans themselves all weighing in.
The background: More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year, and The Manufacturing Institute has estimated that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028. With their technical skills, ability to lead and follow under pressure and experience working in teams, veterans bring exceptional value to the manufacturing industry—even more so during these challenging times.
The lineup: Titled “Veteran Reskilling in Today’s Economy,” the virtual event featured the following speakers:
- Samsung Vice President of Strategic Communications Megan Pollock
- Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee
- Assistant Secretary John Lowry, Colonel, USMC (Ret.), Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service
- Manufacturing Institute Vice President of Military and Veterans Programs Babs Chase
- Koch Industries Outreach Strategies Manager John Buckley
- Sherwin–Williams Production Supervisor George Clay
- SHRM Director of Veterans and Certifications Affairs Andrew Morton
Industry: Pollock and Lee discussed the work that Samsung and the Institute have done to connect veterans with new careers through Heroes MAKE America, which offers training programs at several U.S. military bases. Here are some key quotes:
- Pollock: “Service men and women have an incredible skill set that’s really specifically designed for the advanced manufacturing field. Hiring managers don’t always understand that, and oftentimes, veterans are not set up for success as they move into the manufacturing field, even though they’ve got all the skills they need. So…it’s not about reskilling; it’s about an understanding of the great skill set veterans have and how we can utilize them.”
- Lee: “We are training people in multiple branches, in multiple locations, with multiple skill sets, and helping the broader military community transition into the sector.”
Government: Secretary Lowry, whose office helps support job counseling, placement and training services for eligible veterans, spoke about the value of the Heroes program, saying:
- “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the outcomes of the program—95% graduation rate, 85–90% placement rate, and 25% placed in supervisory roles, which I think suggests some of the leadership traits people pick up in the military can be applied well in a manufacturing setting.”
Veterans: Chase moderated a panel of veterans—Buckley, Clay and Morton—who spoke about the Heroes program, the advantages of veterans in the workforce and the importance of engagement efforts. Here is some of what they had to say:
- Buckley: “The Heroes MAKE America program is very comprehensive, and it really does a great job of preparing our veterans.”
- Clay: “When we start looking at what veterans are bringing to organizations, it’s a lot more than the common soft skills that you look at.”
- Morton: “Talent mobility is probably more important than acquisition and probably more important than workforce development, because that truly allows the employee to grow and to stay with the organization.”
Check out a recording of the event here.