NFAMI (The Next Frontier Advanced Manufacturing Institute), is partnering with LIFT, a national manufacturing institute, and Highlands College in Butte, to bring the federally funded Operation Next program to Montana.

The Operation Next program will create a strong Montana base for a forward-thinking, manufacturing-oriented, education program that is very successful in other states. The curriculum will train our nation’s servicemen and women in high-value CNC Manufacturing and welding to obtain high-value, high-paying, critical support jobs.

Operation Next is offering welding and CNC rapid training courses at Highlands College, free of charge to veterans. The curriculum is online with hands-on application training. The hands-on training is the last weekend of every month, for 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Glashuette Watch Manufactory
GLASHUETTE, GERMANY - DECEMBER 19: A CNC-machine mills on a component part at German watch manufacturer Glashuette Original on December 19, 2007 in Glashuette, near Dresden, Germany. Mechanical masterpieces have been manufactured in Saxony�s Glashuette since 1845. Glashuette Original, founded in 1904, is one of the few remaining authentic watch manufactories in this world and currently one of the most reputable luxury watch manufacturers worldwide. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

According to the Operation Next website, over 200,000 military personnel are transitioning to a private sector career every year, with a projected need of over 1.96 million manufacturing workers by 2028.

I reached out to the Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of Boilermaker Local 11, Clint Penny to ask about the need for welders.

“Welders are always in demand, if you can weld, you are going to work.”

“Placement for welders is always really high.”

Ukrainians Refurbish Captured Russian Military Gear For Re-Use
EASTERN UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 13: A welder works to transform a captured Russian T-62 tank into a Ukrainian Brem armored recovery vehicle on February 13, 2023 at a warehouse in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian crowdfunding organization Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation funds the facility which refurbishes tanks and armored vehicles captured on the battlefield from retreating Russian forces. Such "trophy" vehicles have been crucial to resupply Ukrainian forces who often rely on older Soviet-era fleets, increasingly augmented by newer western weapons systems. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Mr. Penny also mentioned the Helmets to Hardhats program in the trades, which ensures employers know when a prospective employee is a veteran. Armed with that knowledge employers know the character and work ethic of the individual early in the hiring process, making the hiring decision easier.

The next round of courses will get underway at Highlands College of Montana Tech in August of 2023. You can find out more about NFAMI, and the Operation Next Montana on the NFAMI website.

NFAMI is a 501(c)(3) located in Butte, Montana, with the mission of supporting and elevating veterans and transitioning service men and women through training and certifications in advanced manufacturing. NFAMI is actively looking for sponsorship.

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