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(Left to Right) Teresa English, Ft. Campbell Career Skills Program Coordinator; Commissioner Burns Philips, TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development; Charlie Koon , Workforce Essentials; Montez King, National Institute of Metalworking Society (NIMS); Lawrence Brown, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow; Dr. Arrita Summers, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Dickson & Clarksville Campus; Paul Perkins, Amatrol; COL Rob Salome, Ft. Campbell Garrison Commander.

LIFT Launches “Operation Next” To Prepare
Future Veterans for Civilian Careers

New model will provide separating military personnel with skills and credentials for the
most in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing

FT. CAMPBLELL, Kent. – LIFT - Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a
Manufacturing USA national innovation institute — in partnership with the
National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Amatrol, and Gene Haas
Foundation — today announced the launch of “Operation Next” - a new model
for equipping separating military personnel with the skills and credentials needed
for the most in-demand advanced manufacturing civilian careers in the country.

This new national model provides high level technical training to separating
soldiers while they are still on active duty, moving them from deployment to
career in the shortest time possible and connecting them to some of the more
than half-million open jobs in precision machining and industrial technology.

Operation Next brings market leaders in manufacturing training together in a fullservice
online learning platform that soldiers can access before leaving the
service, accelerating their transition into civilian manufacturing careers. The
hybrid training program combines self-directed virtual learning with hands-on lab
work and gives soldiers foundational knowledge, practical real-world skills, and
national industry credentials with immediate value in the labor market.

“As a public-private partnership with the Department of Defense, Office of Naval
Research and many outstanding American companies, our Institute members
recognize the importance of U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing critical to
ensuring the strength of our defense industrial base,” said Larry Brown, executive
director, LIFT.

“We recognize the strength and the aptitude of the men and women who serve
our country and believe there is no better way to honor them than to provide
them with a fast-track path to great careers in advanced manufacturing,” said
Emily DeRocco, education and workforce development director, LIFT. "It is our
intention to push out resumes of credentialed soldiers to manufacturers across
the country engaged in Manufacturing USA."

Operation Next will launch as a pilot program at Fort Campbell—home of the
101st Airborne Division—and transition 101 soldiers to open jobs in machining
and industrial technology. Local partners include Workforce Essentials that will
manage operations, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology— where
soldiers will complete lab work.

“These separating soldiers are exactly the right candidates to benefit from this
type of 21st century learning model,” said Paul Perkins, CEO, Amatrol, the virtual
learning provider for Operation Next. “The competency-based structure of the
learning enables soldiers to get credit for what they already know, focuses on the
hands-on technical skills they need, and expedites their transition into careers.”

Upon completion of the program, participants earn national industry credentials
from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills for critical functions in CNC
(Computer Numerical Control) Machining and Industrial Technology. “With these
civilian credentials, soldiers will have a clear path to a long-term career in any
sector of manufacturing,” said Montez King, Interim Executive Director, NIMS.
Employment in Machining and Industrial Technology Maintenance have grown by
over 811,000 workers – or 19 percent – since 2010.

“Participants will not be completing this training in a bubble,” said Marla Rye,
President, Workforce Essentials, the regional program manager for Operation
Next. “The program connects these separating soldiers to the real-world of work
through plant tours, job-shadows offered by partnering employers and other

LIFT is announcing Operation Next in conjunction with the Hiring Our Heroes
Transition Summit at Fort Campbell, designed to connect employers and industry
with talented veterans, service members, and military spouses.

Enrollment for the Operation Next pilot at Fort Campbell will begin in Summer,

For more information, visit

LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of
advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives
to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of
Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the
Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.