WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 30, 2014) – The Army, General Motors and Raytheon signed a proclamation Tuesday, at the Pentagon that puts new job opportunities on the table for Soldiers separating from military service.
The multi-year “Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program” will provide new job opportunities to some of the 130,000 Soldiers returning annually to civilian life. As part of the program, select Soldiers who are transitioning out of the military will be trained to fill service technician positions at GM dealerships.
Before reading and signing the proclamation in the Pentagon center courtyard, Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, Army G-1, said the Shifting Gears program would help Soldiers gain valuable skills and industry acquire high-quality employees.
“This is one of our great Soldier for Life programs designed to help Soldiers transition to that next phase in life and to be career-ready as they leave active duty [service],” said Bromberg. “We want our Soldiers to start strong, serve strong, reintegrate strong with their families and to remain strong as they transition into civilian life.”
The Army’s “Soldier for Life” program manages education, health, retirement and employment services during every phase of a Soldier’s “life cycle” — from enlistment through the return to civilian life at the end of a career.
When the Shifting Gears program kicks off in August, at Fort Hood, Texas, it will mark the first time GM or any automaker has been invited to offer valuable training on-site at an Army post, said Steve Hill, GM North American vice president of U.S. sales and service. He said GM expects the prototype program to produce 120 graduates over the next year. GM’s network needs about 2,500 new technicians annually.
Anticipated to be highly competitive, Soldiers must first achieve qualifying scores on both Army and GM Service Technical College assessment tests to enter the Shifting Gears program.
For those accepted, the 12-week training program consists of a customized, on-base curriculum. It includes classroom, online and hands-on technical training followed by job-placement recommendations and employment assistance through the Army’s Soldier for Life centers and GM’s authorized dealer network.
“We could not be more thrilled at Raytheon than to partner with two of our most important customers: the U.S. Army and General Motors,” said Lynn A. Dugal, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services. “Young Army veterans face unemployment rates that are more than double the national average, so Raytheon sees this partnership with GM and the Army as an opportunity to reduce those alarming statistics by helping position former Soldiers for new opportunities.”
Bromberg said more than one million Soldiers will transition to the civilian community in the next 10 years.
The Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program is one of many such programs in place within the Army to help separating Soldiers prepare for civilian life. Soldiers may also choose to participate in the Veterans in Piping, Welding and HVAC program; the Veterans in Construction (Electric) program; the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades program; the Microsoft Software Engineer Academy program; the Veterans Entering Trucking program; and the National Institute of Sheet Metal Workers program.