First Class

Rockwell veterans program helping skills gap after 1 year

On November 10, after three months of hard effort, Manpower Group and Rockwell Automation celebrated the first military veterans to graduate from the companies’ training school, the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing, and secure high-paying jobs in the rapidly-evolving manufacturing industry.


The first class of graduates from the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing’s veteran workforce training program with Rockwell Automation.—AAM/Rockwell photo

The 12-week program launched in August combines classroom learning with hands-on laboratory experience. Veterans are trained in Rockwell Automation’s state-of-the art facility in Mayfield Heights, Ohio for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing. All of the graduates have job offers and more than half have multiple job offers that significantly increase — some graduates even doubling — their previous salaries. The program also has a 100 percent employment rate after its first year.

“This program felt like it was made just for me,” says Travis Tolbert, U.S. Navy veteran and academy graduate. “It focused on controls and automation, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, but was never able to do until now. The academy helped me take my military skills and understand how I could make them relevant for jobs outside of the Navy.”

The manufacturing sector in the U.S. is estimated to produce up to 3.5 million new jobs over the next decade. With close to 2.5 million manufacturing workers set to retire by 2025 and ongoing skill shortages, up to two million of those new jobs could go unfilled. Military veterans often work in technology intensive roles and with on-the-job training these adjacent skills can be transferred to roles in advanced manufacturing.

“Manufacturing employers in the United States are experiencing a significant gap between the skills they need and the skills people have. Our solution was to look for people with adjacent skills — skills that are closely connected and can be adapted easily, developed and applied to new roles,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “Veterans share many skills that are relevant to manufacturing — including effective problem solving and a team work mindset. This program is a win-win, we’re helping service men and women earn more and stay employable for the long term while helping employers address their skills gap.”

“In recognition of Veterans Day, on behalf of Rockwell and ManpowerGroup, we thank all our veterans for their service,” said Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell Automation. “We are honored to recognize our first military veterans to graduate the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing. We’ve seen their unique combination of core work and tech-savvy skills evolve to successfully position them for careers in the industry. We’re confident this program will help solve a challenge critical to the growth of advanced manufacturing.”

The program expands Rockwell Automation’s long-standing Engineer-in-Training (EIT) program, which combines classroom learning with hands-on laboratory experience, producing hundreds of graduates annually.

It also adds to the number of programs ManpowerGroup provides for military personnel, veterans and spouses, including:

  • More than 10 years of Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) in Australia: ManpowerGroup Australia’s public-private collaboration with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has filled 7,000+ jobs each year in the Navy, Army and Air Force. DFR has achieved impressive results in the diversity space: more than one in four recruits are women and in the Navy and Air Force it’s more than 40 percent; and the percentage of Indigenous people joining the ADF is currently double their representation in the Australian population.
  • For more than 10 years, the U.K. Career Transition Partnership (CTP) – an agreement between the Ministry of Defence and ManpowerGroup’s Right Management UK – has helped more than 180,000 veterans find sustainable employment by adapting their qualifications to new roles outside the armed forces.

Rockwell, a familiar name in the pages of Electrical Apparatus, is one of the world’s largest industrial automation outfits. Headquartered in Milwaukee, it employs approximately 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries. ManPower, meanwhile, deems itself a “workforce solutions company,” and helps organizations and workforces by “sourcing, assessing, developing and managing the talent that enables them to win,” the company declared.

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