Workshops for Warriors (WFW) prides itself on bringing back the spirit of innovation with America’s best and brightest – our Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members. Those who attend the nonprofit training center have the opportunity to enroll in either machining or welding for a 16-week accelerated course, and both courses lead to nationally recognized credentials accredited by:
- The American Welding Society (AWS)
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)
- CNC Software Inc. (Mastercam)
- The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3).
Now, 3D printing and additive manufacturing will be available to the select 50 students per semester who are accepted into the highly competitive program. Founded in 2008, WFW is currently the only accredited school in the nation that trains, certifies, and helps place Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members into advanced manufacturing careers. Although the school has a proven record of success with over 420 graduates and is ready to be replicated nationwide, funding is a big issue. The process to be able to accept GI Bill benefits is an eight-year process and WFW is currently in year seven, so the school receives no Federal, State, or Local funding. Still, they remain committed to offering their programs completely free of charge for those attending so that every Veteran and Transitioning Service Member has the opportunity for a clearer path to financial freedom. So how do they do it?
How 3D Printing Will Change the Hiring Game (and Why Schools Need to Keep Up)
Because of corporate and private funding, Workshops for Warriors is able to graduate approximately 150 graduates per year on over $6 million worth of cutting-edge technology entrusted or donated to the school. Stratasys has joined the movement as one of those companies, recently donating a Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer.
According to the latest reports, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in manufacturing over the next decade, but 2 million of those jobs are expected to go unfilled due to lack of skilled labor. This means that training our next generation of advanced manufacturing technicians is crucial, but with nearly 1 million service members expected transition over the next 5 years, the answer seemed clear to Workshops for Warriors Founder and CEO, Hernán Luis y Prado.
“3D printing will become an ever increasing source of manufacturing in the U.S., and I want to be able to allow veterans the mental space to innovate and integrate 3D printing into their designs and applications. Stratasys has given us the best 3D printer in the world, and 3D printing fills a critical niche that we didn’t have beforehand,” said Hernán Luis y Prado, Founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors. “So when you’re partnered with world leader in 3D printing technology, that’s really going to help make our students even more sought after than they currently are.”
You can learn more about Workshops for Warriors and how you can help at wfwusa.org.