A program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Robotics, lasers, machining, welding—today’s manufacturing isn’t your grandfather’s manufacturing.

why manufacturing?

The manufacturing industry produces nearly every product you and your family use on a daily basis—from the materials used to build your home and car to the clothes you wear to the food you eat. Opportunities in manufacturing include mechanics, information coordination, computation, material handling and automation. Manufacturing is a crucial part of the U.S. economy, contributing over $2 trillion in 2013 alone. The manufacturing industry employs more than 12 million Americans.
GE’s Get Skills to Work coalition provides accelerated training and skills translation for veterans interested in manufacturing careers.

Production Manager
Maintenance Technicians
Industrial Designer

average salary






additional information:

  • Production managers help make the best use of the people and equipment in a plant. They monitor budgets, safety programs, purchasing and schedules.
  • They can use technologies like sensors, predictive analytics, and wearable devices to consistently—and in real time—optimize plant operations.
  • Maintenance Technicians repair, install, adjust, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery. They must be able to repair or maintain the operating condition of the equipment, as well as disassemble it to repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components.
  • Welders use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
  • They might operate safety equipment, examine pieces for defects, and select and install metal components like torches, torch tips, filler rods, and flux.
  • Machinists fashion all kinds of products and parts out of medal. They are skilled operator of industrial machinery, responsible for fabrication, assembly and repair work.
  • Pay ranges for machinists vary, and pay increases as one moves up to Machinist II, Machinist III and managerial positions.
  • Industrial designers draw up plans for everything from bicycles to the latest advancements in medical equipment.
  • Working in this field requires strong computer skills.
  • Three-dimensional CAD systems are used to transform drawings into models. CAID systems are used to communicate with production machinery.

Get Skills to Work is a coalition of manufacturing companies and community and technical colleges committed to recruiting, training, and retaining veterans in long-term careers in advanced manufacturing and other disciplines. Get Skills to Work reached more than 100,000 veterans with resources to help them prepare for and enter into advanced manufacturing careers.

about the sponsor

Get Skills to Work is a coalition of manufacturing companies and community and technical colleges committed to recruiting, training, and retaining veterans in long-term careers in advanced manufacturing and other disciplines. Get Skills to Work reached more than 100,000 veterans with resources to help them prepare for and enter into advanced manufacturing careers. The founding partners included GE, Alcoa, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Manufacturing Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, LinkedIn, TechShop, the Gary Sinise Foundation, the VA Center for Innovation (VACI) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and more.  For more on the history of the program and the partners, visit our archive site here.


about manufacturing industry training & certifications

With highly technical military and leadership training, veterans have skills surpassing those of civilian job seekers competing for jobs in advanced manufacturing. Some veterans can transition directly into manufacturing careers while others require specialized training or certification from accredited programs. Industry-based educational programs allow veterans to quickly up-skill and prepare for manufacturing careers. For more information and a list of schools, please click here. Many specific credentialing and certification programs are also available, and several examples are outlined below. "Our returning veterans have learned valuable skills through their service and have the fundamental skills to be successful in advanced manufacturing," - Jennifer McNelly, president, The Manufacturing Institute

Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)
Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI)
Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI)
National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)
American Welding Society (AWS)


time to complete

Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)

The MSSC partners with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to provide credentials and certification for active duty, reserve, and guard members. This program helps train service members and their spouses gain industry-recognized certifications that can be used to launch careers in high tech and high-demand manufacturing industries. MSSC offers two certifications for this workforce:

1 week

About the Certified Production Technician About the Certified Logistics Technician

Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI)

The Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) certification program by MSI was developed to meet the growing employment demands of the manufacturing industry. The MT1 program addresses the core industry-wide skills standards required for skilled production occupations in all sectors of manufacturing. The core competency areas certified are: Math and Measurement, Spatial Reasoning and Manufacturing Technology, Business Acumen and Quality, measuring an individual’s skills attainment in 12 critical technical skills.

1 week (all courses)

Manufacturing Technician Level 1 Program Details Military2Manufacturing Program

Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI)

PMMI is a trade association with more than 500 member companies that manufacture packaging and packaging-related converting machinery, commercially-available packaging machinery components, containers and materials in the United States and Canada. The PMMI Mechatronics Certificate Programs are grouped in the four key areas relevant to Mechatronics: Mechanical, Electrical, Logic controls, and Computer science.

1 week (all courses)

PMMI U Homepage PMMI Certificate Programs

National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)

Skills in the metalworking industry are validated through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) machining and metalforming certifications. The certifications are earned through secondary, postsecondary, and work-based curricula that include both “hands-on” performance and theory tests. 52 NIMS credentials allow employers to hone their credentialing requirements and choose only those certifications that are applicable to the needs of the company.


Guide to NIMS Credentialing List of NIMS Credentials

American Welding Society (AWS)

The American Welding Society’s (AWS) Certified Welder Certifications are acquired in postsecondary education. The Certified Welder program uses performance-based testing to validate procedures used in the structural steel, petroleum pipelines, sheet metal and chemical refining industries.


About AWS Certifications List of AWS Certifications


Veterans and current service members can get discounted memberships to TechShop where they can get hands-on experience with 3-D printers, computer-controlled mills, laser cutters, and other high-tech machinery crucial to advanced manufacturing. Veterans have used their memberships to expand their skills as well as build their own businesses.


Learn about Free Membership