Nolan Johnson recently interviewed Jahr Turchan, director of Veteran Services & Advanced Manufacturing Programs for Blackfox Training Institute. They discussed some of the new programs at Blackfox, including the Veteran Advanced Manufacturing Certification program. Thanks to programs like these, this is a great time for veterans transitioning into the manufacturing workplace.
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Nolan Johnson: Hi, Nolan Johnson here for I-Connect007. I’m speaking with Jahr Turchan. He is the director of veteran affairs and advanced manufacturing programs at Blackfox Training Institute. Jahr, welcome.
Jahr Turchan: Hi, Nolan. Good to see you again.
Johnson: Good to see you, too. There’s some news here coming out of, especially out of the veteran’s affairs role, with Blackfox. Fill us in. You’ve just got a press release out here about now, covering the topic. What’s up?
Turchan: Yeah, sure. So, the Veteran Advanced Manufacturing Certification program that we have is not a new program. It’s actually been around since 2013, but we’ve got some updates, some changes to it. Primarily, the changes are going to allow for easier access to funds for veterans and service members. Before, they primarily had to get funding through a workforce center, through various grants there, or they had to use their GI Bill. But now, through a partnership with the Evolution Foundation, they can get a scholarship for our program as well.
Johnson: Okay, fantastic. That is a nice advance for helping military personnel transition into civilian life. What does this sort of program mean to those trainees, those people who would be getting these scholarships?
Turchan: Nolan, that’s a great question. So, the program is an Advanced Manufacturing Certification program where we take veterans and service members that are looking to either enter or re-enter the workforce, and we put them through a three-week baseline program where they’ll go through training and hands-on soldering skills. They’ll end up earning the IPC-610 certification, as well as their J-STD with space certification, as well as a handful of other Blackfox-certified skills, such as soldering, box assembly, and everything else they need that goes along with them.
Johnson: Great. That means, then, that they’re imminently employable. What’s in this for employers?
Turchan: From the employer’s standpoint, obviously, it’s awesome to hire veterans, for a few things. One, you’re giving back to that community. You are supporting that veteran that has supported you by them being a part of the military. But also, veterans obviously come with a great foundational set of skills, all those soft skills that we’re looking to put into our workforce today. The government has put millions of dollars of training into them already, and we’re taking that platform, you might say, and we’re going to build onto it these awesome manufacturing, tactile skills.
Johnson: Great. Okay. So, if I’m either an active-duty military personnel who’s exiting their active duty, moving back into civilian life, or employer, how do I get involved?
Turchan: Absolutely. There’s two main ways that you can get involved with our Veteran Advanced Manufacturing Certification program. One would be to get funded through either the workforce centers or your GI Bill, that’s obviously still a possibility. But the new aspect that we’re really trying to push here is this partnership with Evolution Foundation. They are offering scholarships, merit-based scholarships, to veterans and transitioning service members. Right now, they’re looking for people that have an existing technical electronics or soldering skills, and then we’ll build on top of that. If they are interested in going for that scholarship, they should reach out to the Evolution Foundation. And there’s contact information in the press release that you had mentioned. And the website, they can go there, the EvolutionFoundation.org, and there’s a subpage specifically about the scholarships, what’s involved in applying, and how to go through all of it.
Johnson: And of course, I’m sure that there is a pathway for employers to get involved.
Turchan: Absolutely. Yeah. The more employers that we can have involved, the better. From one standpoint, we want employers to reach out to us or the Evolution Foundation to discuss their hiring needs. So, anybody interested in hiring veterans should reach out to us and discuss the benefits of, or what the process for getting or hiring one of our students that’s going through this program. Additionally, this is such a fantastic program. Blackfox believes in this program. We helped stand up the Evolution Foundation a couple years ago by giving them some seed capital, but we need other institutions, people, and organizations to help fund the Evolution Foundation so they can continue on with their awesome goal of giving scholarships to these veterans, so that they can transition into a successful civilian career.
Johnson: Facing our current staffing shortages for skilled and motivated workers in our industry, this seems like a very good program at a very good time.
Turchan: Yeah, we think so. We’re excited to be a part of it. We’re excited that this new program that we have, or rather this new rendition, where actually, if I can take a moment, I do want to mention some of the updates to that, because our original Advanced Manufacturing Certification program was primarily geared towards training veterans so they could get hired by Lockheed Martin, because at that time, they were hiring hundreds and hundreds of techs. And now we’re being a lot more responsive to the employers, and our baseline program is highly customizable. So even if you’re an employer that doesn’t need 610 and J-STD with Space, maybe you’re an electronic vehicle manufacturer and you are more interested in that IPC-620 for cabling, we can customize that program so that it meets the needs of your manufacturers.
Johnson: Great. Jahr, thank you for taking the time to talk this through with me. This is good news, indeed. I very much appreciate your time.
Turchan: Thanks, Nolan.
Johnson: Here with Jahr Turchan, the director of veteran affairs and advanced manufacturing programs at Blackfox Training Institute. I’m Nolan Johnson. Thanks for listening.