Rebuilding American Manufacturing with Veterans

Workshops for warriors 2

America is facing a significant crisis. Once known as the leader in manufacturing, we are now second to China. More than 803,000 American skilled manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled due to a lack of trained and credentialed workers. This has played out in the day-to-day lives of all of us, and could not have been more evident and startling than when the COVID pandemic erupted.


After WWII, America abandoned its manufacturing training pipeline. While Made in America is still recognized worldwide as the golden standard, much is to be done with the gap of manufacturing workers projected to increase to 2.1 million by 2030.

As a Navy combat veteran, Founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors (WFW) Hernán Luis y Prado is keenly aware of the need for skilled workers and the challenges young people face when transitioning from active duty to civilian life. In fact, Luis y Prado was invited by Congressman Mike Levin to testify before Congress in May to address the U.S. Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program (TAPS) and military transition issues. He was also a featured speaker at TEDx San Diego in June, where he spoke about America’s desperate need to once again become an industry leader in manufacturing. The synergistic energy of these combined challenges interweaves into the lives of veterans and the future of all Americans.

The consequences of America’s lack of a manufacturing training pipeline became shockingly apparent as the COVID pandemic erupted. The nation that created the Salk vaccine and cured polio could not produce our own medications or the personal protective equipment (PPE) we desperately needed. For the first time we had to rely on other nations for our physical safety and wellbeing. Since its inception, WFW, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit has provided accelerated, condensed manufacturing training and job placement assistance to veterans, active duty, and transitioning service members.

Luis y Prado’s singular dream has become WFW’s shared vision: VET 2.0, the next greatest generation. Take our nation’s finest, those who have honorably served, and transform them into the future of advanced manufacturing in America.

WFW truly is Rebuilding American Manufacturing. WFW graduates are in high demand. WFW’s program proudly maintains a 94 percent job placement rate. Graduates are recruited and work in every state across the U.S., using their skills in a variety of employment settings, securing well-paying jobs with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 per year upon graduation. They are building their future and ours, working in the frontier of technology at American companies like Boeing, Ford, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Corp., and SpaceX.

When America is in need, our most courageous men and women come to our aid without fail; United States veterans have served humbly, honorably, and with a relentless sense of duty. They have been warriors for us; it is time for us to be warriors for them. We have an opportunity to champion them with our time, talent, and treasure – and a life-changing opportunity as America’s greatest manufacturing workforce.

To learn more about Workshops for Warriors, please visit our website at: or call (619) 550-1620 to see firsthand how WFW is transforming the lives of transitioning service members.

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Esteban Villanueva