Army veterans have a new chance to become financially stable after returning home from such operations as the Enduring Freedom, Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
A new program, set up by Ford, the United Auto Workers union and the Wounded Warriors Family Support, an organization dedicated to the support of returning military personnel, will take eight “students” and train them to become skilled auto workers.
“The worst thing you can do is train people with the expectation they’ll get jobs and they don’t get jobs,” says UAW vice president James Settles Jr.
“I don’t need to be rich, but I want to be able to provide for myself and a family” says one of them, a former rescue swimmer in the US Navy. “The possibility is exciting. Rescue swimming was my goal, This enables me to refocus…(With welding,) you can take something broken and fix it. I’m a broken person and this helps.”
The UAW-Ford course takes former soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen on a six-week program that teaches them how to weld, a skill that industry experts consider to be highly sought after. According to the organizers of the training program, the automotive industry will require at least 290,000 new skilled welders by 2022.