Most soldiers who are on active duty, are on 24/7. Often raised to exulted heights as they leave their communities and serve their country, after duty, those who excel are given medals and awards. What many also return with however, are injuries that can be severe and lasting, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a host of economical and family issues that often begin to sink in all too soon after the initial homecoming party. Also very common is enormous apprehension about what to do next. You might think that it would be easy for military personnel to leave service and be welcomed into any number of jobs, but that is not always the case when specific skills are indeed necessary to perform complex, better paying jobs.
Most soldiers do, however, leave military service with a set of skills that can translate into success anywhere–a great sense of both leadership and valuing team members, the ability to handle a long day with more ease, and a strong work ethic. Accompanied by some fresh new training and skills, veterans obviously have great potential. This is exactly what Hernàn and Rachel Luis y Prado saw, and wanted to build on. To carve out a special niche for veterans in San Diego, they created the Workshops for Warriors program. We’ve been following them with great interest as they have carved out such a unique and valuable niche, training veterans in the 3D design suite SOLIDWORKS, as well as training in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding.
Workshops for Warriors serves two comprehensive needs in one fell swoop, offering valuable skillsets to fill millions of jobs that are empty out there due to lack of anyone who knows how to actually do them, as well as helping a million veterans–at no cost–transition to the next chapter in their lives as civilians with training, certification and job placement. What’s even better is to work with others who can identify with what the other has gone through, creating another brotherhood, in civilian life. Currently, this is all coming together in San Diego, which boasts a major manufacturing hub. The only problem is that it has been experiencing a serious lack of numbers in qualified individuals to fill jobs.
This ‘school that America built’ just held fall graduation for the largest class so far, celebrating the 46 veterans, wounded warriors, and transitioning service members who will now move into careers in advanced manufacturing, just as planned. To date, 238 veterans and wounded warriors have now been trained, with a stunning 100 percent receiving jobs in advanced manufacturing.
“We’re the only accredited nonprofit providing veterans with these opportunities. Not only do we offer state-of-the-art equipment, computers and facilities, but most importantly, all training is at no cost to veterans,” said Hernàn Luis y Prado, Founder of Workshops for Warriors. “We’re extremely proud of our graduates and look forward to continuing our 100 percent placement rate.”
Semesters are 16 weeks long, and students who attend the Workshops for Warriors program can look forward to credentials from organizations like the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Mastercam University (computer-aided manufacturing), SOLIDWORKS (computer-aided design) and the American Welding Society.
With such enormous success behind them, they are striving not only to raise $15 million for their own advanced manufacturing center in San Diego, but also hope to soon translate their training model into a nationwide program for veterans who are able to earn SOLIDWORKS CSWA (Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate) and CSWP (Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional) degrees.