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Roundtable focuses on connecting military vets to manufacturing

Veterans transitioning from the military to civilian life have ample opportunity for employment in the manufacturing industry where jobs will be plentiful for several decades.

That was the focus of a roundtable discussion titled “Military2Manufacturing” on Oct 24 at Flowserve Corporation in Chesapeake. Staff from Tidewater Community College’s Center for Military and Veterans Education and Thomas Stout, program head for mechatronics, participated along with Chesapeake manufacturing and economic development representatives.

Facilitated by the CMVE’s Batanya Gipson, project/program coordinator, and Von Gilbreath, senior business development manager for the Chesapeake Economic Development Department, the discussion with local manufacturing leaders centered on attracting transitioning military to manufacturing careers.
“Manufacturing in Chesapeake is strong, and we want to make it stronger for the next 30, 40 and 50 years,” said Steven Wright, director of the Chesapeake Economic Development Department. “As our veterans exit the military, we want to make sure we take care of them.”
TCC serves the largest military-related student population in the state. Active duty military veterans and their families make up about one third of the college’s enrollment.
Gipson stressed that TCC can customize training programs to fill the gap between military experience and the skill set manufacturers require for employment.

Takeaways from the morning included

  • ensuring the college connects to potential military-related students as early as one year to six months prior to their transition to civilian life;
  • hosting more workshops targeted to the specific skills manufacturers seek when preparing to hire;
  • improving contact between the college’s career services offices and manufacturing companies with fewer than 50 employees;
  • improved resume training to highlight how skills/trades learned in the military can apply to manufacturer employment needs; and
  • exploring the potential of apprenticeships in areas beyond maritime.

Chesapeake-based Flowserve supplies pumps, valves, seals, automation and services to the power, oil, gas, chemical and other industries.