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Oak Ridge, TN
Oak Ridge National Lab Creates Veterans 3D Training Program

By TJ McCueThursday, November 20, 2014
3D Printing, STEM

In my last post, I was perhaps a bit over-the-top about why I see manufacturing, and the 3D technologies behind its growth, as a big opportunity. We spent the better part of a day at Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL) and one thing stood out for me from a conversation with our host, Brian Post, who is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Manufacturing Systems Research Group:

ORNL asked: If we reinvigorate manufacturing, where is the workforce?

But they did not just ask the question, they answered it. They created a training program for veterans. Why vets? In their mind, and in the mind of most of this nation, veterans are:

  • Loyal
  • Understand procedures
  • Work hard
  • Hands-on problem solvers
  • Work well in teams

They asked the question because they know we have a fundamental problem and an opportunity with 10,000 active duty military members returning to civilian life EACH month. With hundreds of thousands of open manufacturing jobs, there is a need for training. Thus, they created the Veterans Training Program in Advanced Manufacturing.

  • Six week program with classroom and laboratory training
  • Core competencies: introduction to materials, design for advanced manufacturing, printers and fabrication, titanium and ABS Plastics, and carbon fiber
  • Pilot launch: 120 inquiries, 73 applications, 25 internships
  • 15 Army, Navy, or Marine veterans, 3 active duty personnel, 2 reservists, 3 FIRST Robotics students, and 2 undergraduate engineering students

You want to know the sweet part? It was hugely successful: 18 job offers extended from 5 companies.

You want to get bullish on manufacturing and the 3D tech that will underpin its growth? Read this profile on 26-year-old wounded veteran Joseph Grabianowski who completed the program to train for a new career in 3D printing. Read the full article linked to his name, but here is just a bit from the article:

Grabianowski stepped on an IED while deployed with his Army unit in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in May 2012. Damage from the blast required a rare, radical amputation of his lower body. He had long dreamed of being a U.S. Marshal but knew his path would now lead in a new direction. In a December 2013 interview with USA Today, Grabianowski said, “I still love my country…even though I can’t go be a Marshal now, I can still go do something that would be a good service to my country.”

Bullish on 3D? Just a bit.

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