Based on its manufacturing boot camps and adoption of nationally recognized standards, Gateway Technical College has been named Wisconsin’s only college involved in a national coalition of industry, educators and nonprofit organizations helping veterans discover careers in advanced manufacturing.
The Manufacturing Institute, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, this week announced 50 colleges nationally participating in the Get Skills to Work Initiative.
Get Skills is a partnership among the Institute, GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and more than 500 manufacturing companies. The coalition will work with the colleges to further expand accelerated training and certification opportunities for U.S. veterans in advanced manufacturing.
For Gateway, the word “accelerated” refers to the manufacturing boot camps it started years ago to compress a course into several weeks, college President and CEO Bryan Albrecht explained Wednesday. Gateway also gives veterans education credits for what they learned during their military service.
“At a time when the manufacturing industry has a well-documented skills gap, veterans represent an important pipeline of talented workers,” the Institute states. “Many veterans have training and experience that match up to manufacturing careers, in areas as diverse as welding, machining, logistics and maintenance.
“For those veterans requiring additional training and industry certifications to prepare for the civilian manufacturing workforce, accelerated postsecondary programs can bridge the gap for transitioning veterans.”
Albrecht said the college was identified as a partner because of its
ongoing efforts in advanced-manufacturing education. The Institute encourages technical colleges to align their programs with specific manufacturing standards, which Gateway has done. That gives each graduate in those programs both a degree and a credential that he/she was in a certified program.
“Programs like this are in high demand throughout our community, and veterans are strong candidates for career success,” Albrecht said.
Gateway has also been tapping into state Fast Forward funding, round by round as it is released, Albrecht said, to provide additional boot camp training in areas including computer numerical control, robotics, maintenance technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, electrical technology, tool and die, and medical coding.
Another use of that funding has been to recruit, train and support veterans and help them with job placement. This school year, 541 different veterans have either taken classes or are enrolled in particular programs, Albrecht said.
Last fall the college announced that, for the third straight year, it was designated a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, a publisher of magazines for military personnel making the transition into civilian life. The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges and universities which are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and their spouses to ensure their success as students.
“Gateway provides credit for prior learning, including skills mastered serving our nation,” Albrecht said. “Veterans earning credit for their training in the military can apply that credit to a degree and move faster into the workforce.”
Gateway was recently approved to hire veteran students for work study, he said.
The Get Skills to Work effort “acknowledges Gateway’s support services for veteran students,” Albrecht said. “The approval provides Veteran Affairs funding to support the work study program.”