April 30, 2014

Service Centers Welcome Returning Vets
 
Service centers have long relied on colleges, trade schools and competitors for their next hire, whether on the shop floor or in the front office. But another source of potential talent is beginning to get tapped—returning servicemen and women.

The Department of Defense estimates that 200,000 service members will be transitioning to civilian life annually over the next five years. That's one million potential forklift drivers, machine operators, salespeople or managers available to the distribution industry at a time when companies' ranks are being thinned by baby boomer retirements.

Numerous organizations are now actively striving to match up industrial employers with interested military veterans. In 2012, the Get Skills to Work program was launched, a collaborative effort between GE, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa, Boeing and the Manufacturing Institute, to train returning service personnel for jobs in advanced manufacturing.

The Get Skills to Work coalition focuses on accelerating skills training for U.S. veterans; helping veterans and employers translate military skills to advanced manufacturing jobs; and aiding employers with tools to recruit, hire and support veterans.

United Performance Metals, Hamilton, Ohio, works with Cincinnati State University to offer just-in-time training sessions to veterans. UPM supports the training with classroom assistance and identifies employment opportunities for individuals who earn certification through the program.

"Whenever we have an opening, especially on the warehouse side of things, I keep in touch with them," says Sherri Davis, HR and training lead for UPM. "The veterans come very well prepared for interviews, and they're very driven and dedicated. They're just a very good pool of applicants."

Editor's note: For more on hiring trends in the service center industry, see the May issue of Metal Center News.

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