Workshops for Warriors: Rebuilding American Manufacturing One Veteran at a Time

This November 11 will be the 99th year Americans commemorate Veterans Day, a day founded to honor the men and women who have served our country in uniform. The U.S. is home to almost 20 million veterans, many of whom are transitioning back into civilian life and searching for a new career path. Many service members who feel lost or unsure about what path to pursue have found guidance from the high-quality training in advanced manufacturing at San Diego-based Workshops for Warriors. With more than 2,300 nationally recognized credentials, the non-profit school gives veterans immersed in the accelerated program the opportunity to develop transformative skills for their career and future as a civilian.

“Active duty members getting ready to transition, they’re not getting any sort of training out of the military so they can be successful in a specific industry. With a program like ours, they get to really lay a path for their future,” said Scott Leoncini, the machining instructor, fellow graduate and veteran who dealt with the difficulties of transitioning out of the military. As an instructor, Scott is committed to helping veterans have an easier transition than he did.

“We really pride ourselves in our abilities to train veterans in advanced manufacturing. Right now, that includes CNC machining, CAD/CAM software, everything that the industry uses right now and 3D printing, the future of manufacturing. We want our students to be at the forefront of technology in everything they do,” said Leoncini.

Founded for Veterans by a Veteran

Based in San Diego and founded by Hernàn Luis y Prado, a U.S. Navy veteran, Workshops for Warriors is committed to providing quality, accredited STEM programs and advanced educational opportunities for veterans, ensuring they gain skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

“We’ve all been through the same type of military experience and we’ve all gone through adversity to be here,” said Holly Groothuis, a veteran and student at Workshops for Warriors. “That adversity makes us a commodity in today’s market. To be able to work with other veterans, and people on active duty, it brings back that teamwork mentality. I’m still excited every day I get to come here. The things that I’m learning, this is the future. Each integrated part, like 3D printing, CNC machining; I just have an endless desire to know more.”

Scott Leoncini demonstrating the new Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D Printer to students at Workshops for Warriors.

In the accelerated 16-week programs, veterans can learn 3D printing, CNC machining, welding, computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacturing programs. They earn certifications vital to getting jobs as they transition out of the military, and gain a new perspective on what’s possible for them.

“I was looking for something to provide purpose and direction. Having come out of the military and being on the civilian side of things, I wasn’t really engaged in the work I was doing. I really enjoy working with my hands and being creative and this program provided something where I could go from concept to creation, and now with 3D printing, I can design something and bring it to life,” said Courtenay Reed, a student and veteran at Workshops for Warriors.

3D printing, the latest addition to the accredited program at Workshops for Warriors in partnership with Stratasys, helps make graduates even more of a commodity in the industry, helping fulfill their mission of rebuilding American manufacturing one veteran at a time.

“What I’m most excited about in teaching 3D printing is ultimately getting the students to where they want to go. They want to be in manufacturing, at the tip of the spear of new manufacturing, and 3D printing’s going to be a part of that,” said Leoncini.

For more on the partnership between Stratasys and Workshops for Warriors, check out the video and blog post from Manufacturing Day here.

To learn more about Workshops for Warriors and how you can help, go to wfwusa.org.

 

Shelby Mobley

Shelby is committed to forging connections with innovators and technology enthusiasts through engaging content.

Leave a Comment

Comment
Share This