January, 2019
Welcome to Cristina Connections

Honoring our Partners in the Cristina Network
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King
Military service can be difficult, demanding and dangerous. But making the transition from active service to civilian life can also pose a unique set of challenges. It’s not uncommon for service members to experience difficulty when reconnecting with family, adjusting to a different pace and preparing to enter the workforce.

Service members transitioning from the military face significant challenges finding work

Veterans acquire unique skills during their military careers, yet many end up underemployed or unemployed. When you consider that many veterans have never had to apply or interview for a civilian job, it’s easy to see how the process of entering or reentering the civilian workforce can be daunting.

Although the military instills leadership and an excellent work ethic, employers tend to hire for specific skill sets, often overlooking the fact that the valuable skills gained from military training are transferable. In addition, service members may not know how to effectively market their skills when transitioning to the civilian sector and require career planning assistance. 
Hernán Luis y Prado, the founder of Workshops for Warriors , had an “aha moment” when he encountered fellow veterans who seemed trapped without a solution for the next stage of their lives. He remembers that moment in 2008 when he made the decision to position the trades as a smart career path and make it possible for veterans and transitioning service members to obtain meaningful employment after service to our nation.

He describes their dilemma: ”These veterans have to reroute their lives away from the structure of serving as full time active duty warriors. At Workshops for Warriors, veterans receive training and earn portable, stackable credentials, as well as job placement assistance.”

There is a talent shortage in the U.S. manufacturing industry

According to the Deloitte Skills Gap in US Manufacturing 2015–2025 Outlook report, 2 million out of approximately 3.5 million manufacturing jobs available by 2025 will remain unfilled as a result of the talent shortage. That translates into six out of 10 manufacturing jobs without skilled workers to bridge the gap.

There are several issues contributing to the problem. The current generation of skilled laborers is nearing retirement and exiting the workforce. High school graduates continue to pursue academic degrees in lieu of vocational programs that offer training in industrial and other trades, although there is evidence to suggest this trend is changing.

Why Workshops for Warriors is the solution to this skills gap

Workshops for Warriors solves two systemic issues: rebuilding America’s advanced manufacturing talent workforce and ensuring service members and veterans successfully transition into viable, upwardly mobile civilian careers.

Skilled trades are rated as having among the highest potential for advancement and stability in job categories across the board. The training this program provides not only gives its graduates skills and credentials that are in high demand, but creates a national training pipeline that increases the advanced manufacturing workforce and helps offset the skilled labor shortage.
Hernán views Workshops for Warriors as both a community resource and a national resource. After learning welding, machining or fabrication in the school in San Diego, veterans bring new solutions to their communities when they return home. These workers have the skills that are needed in factories and workplaces, nationwide.

The training program is being expanded in San Diego. Hernán Luis y Prado invites people to come to San Diego, tour the school and see how the program is changing lives.

This training certifies and helps to place veterans, wounded warriors and transitioning service members into advanced manufacturing careers. These are the skills communities need to maintain and build new infrastructure and to create and maintain the products people need. (And yes, they use computers too).

As Workshops for Warriors fosters new skill development for veterans who are trained there, the school helps to build important new options into warrior’s lives.
“How might change happen for the children and families we serve?”asks Tynetta Howard, the founder and CEO of Howard’s Healthy Choices. To start with, “We approach our participants with an open-mind, allowing their past to inform the work, but not to define the outcomes. It all starts with establishing trust created through the development of a collaborative environment that honors abilities and is supportive of change. We believe in a healthy choice platform to redirect, heal, educate and empower children and families.”
Howard's Healthy Choices is b ased in the inner city of Trenton, New Jersey. Working closely with the Trenton School District, Tynetta Howard and her staff have developed some important support programs for needy families. She notes their organization’s goal is not only to help the children and their families, but recognizes that such intervention should also meet the needs of the community at large. The programs they have created are in support of some critical needs her organization has identified. They accept students from eight years of age to young people in High School.

In all the programs at Howard’s Healthy Choices the emphasis is on providing tools to more than 500 children a year to help them move successfully through the school system and through life. Tynetta Howard’s goal is for children to become the positive person they want to be and for their families to put belief in themselves and what they are doing and can become.  

These seem to be basic building blocks for all of us.

Tynetta Howard's objectives, it seems, are also important goals for our homes, our communities, our nation and our world.
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