A New Mission for Veterans

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In the vibrant Barrio Logan neighborhood just south of downtown San Diego, a unique initiative has taken root – one that addresses the challenges veterans face when transitioning from active-duty, while also contributing to the revitalization of American manufacturing. Workshops for Warriors (WFW), spearheaded by 15-year Navy combat veteran Hernán Luis y Prado, is emblematic of what our military veterans can achieve when provided with a new skillset and opportunities that open doors to well-paying careers after service.

Luis y Prado founded Workshops for Warriors as a solution to the transition struggles many veterans encounter when leaving the military. Established in 2008, the organization provides veterans with training in welding, machining, and advanced manufacturing. Beyond technical proficiency and portable certifications, WFW provides its students with wrap-around services that include food, clothing, housing if needed, financial aid, and soft-skills learning sessions. To date, more than 1,207 veterans have graduated from the school with more than 14,400 advanced manufacturing credentials.

More than just a training ground, Workshops for Warriors serves as a launching pad for veterans seeking meaningful careers in an industry desperate for workers. Approximately 200,000 people leave the U.S. military every year, while more than 803,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a lack of skilled labor. WFW is actively closing the gap between military and civilian employment; at the same time, it is creating a skilled workforce primed to contribute to the resurgence of American manufacturing.

To ensure WFW receives steady funding, Luis y Prado started VetPowered, a for-profit enterprise and registered apprenticeship program that counts companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman among its clients for machining, fabrication, and machinery repair contracts. VetPowered provides an important link connecting industry leaders eager to support veterans while fulfilling a significant need in the manufacturing industry. These partnerships not only aid veterans in their transition, but it also plays a pivotal role in fortifying American manufacturing.

WFW proudly boasts 87 percent of all donations are allocated to training programs. WFW is also rated Platinum Transparency from Candid (formerly Guidestar) in 2023. To see students learning welding and machining on site, please come for a tour. WFW is expanding their campus to be able to serve even more deserving veterans. There are many opportunities to support this growth and our veterans.

Join us at the annual gala on September 14, 2024, on the iconic USS Midway for an evening of inspiration. Meet students and learn how you can make a meaningful impact on the lives and future veterans as they become skilled workers for American manufacturing.

Workshops for Warriors is changing veterans’ lives every day, empowering veterans to rebuild their lives and contribute to the resurgence of American manufacturing — a cause worthy of all Americans’ attention and celebration.

To support WFW veterans and the Rebuilding of American Manufacturing, please visit www.wfw.org.

 

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Kamran Saeed
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