On May 12th, 2016, Mike Strasser, a Staff Writer for The Mountaineer Online wrote:
The Fort Drum Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program has partnered with the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute to offer a new Advanced Manufacturing Workshop for transitioning Soldiers and veterans.
There are 12 seats available in each of three workshops in July that will focus on radio frequency and pneumatics. Soldiers do not need to have manufacturing experience, but some training in either hydraulics or basic electronics and AC/DC electrical theory is suggested.
Classes will meet July 6-8, 12-14 and 19-21 at Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica.
Participants will need to complete eight hours of online instruction in pneumatics a week before starting the classroom instruction. They will learn about air filtrations, compressors, lubrication, piping and other subjects through online Blackboard modules.
Afterward, students will receive hands-on instruction at the college’s pneumatics lab where they will use simulation software to design, verify and observe the functioning of pneumatic circuits that will be assembled and tested.
The radio frequency course is a combination of lecture and hands-on instruction. Topics will include the nature of radio frequency, commonly used frequencies and measurement tools and applications in semiconductor manufacturing.
Kate Alcott, Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center associate director at SUNY Poly, said that the workshops give students an introduction to the topic and can pique an interest toward a manufacturing career.
“If a Soldier takes the workshops, has military mechanical or electrical experience, an ability to follow procedures, pays attention to detail and has pride in workmanship, it is highly likely that manufacturers will be interested in hiring,” she said.
Lorrie Guler, Fort Drum SFL-TAP transition service manager, said that Soldiers who have military occupational specialties in pneumatics, hydraulics or avionics would be well-suited for this training.
“On a broader level, we may find Soldiers who have mechanical aptitude who can quickly pick up on the compressed training that is provided in this program,” she said.
Those who are interested in the course should contact the Fort Drum SFL-TAP to obtain an application. Guler said that Soldiers will need to fill out the application in full, as they would a job application or registering for a college course, to ensure their eligibility.
“Submitting an application doesn’t guarantee selection into the program,” Guler said. “We need the applications to be filled out completely because there is a screening process in place so we can send the most qualified Soldiers to this training.”
As with the Solar Ready Vets program that prepares transitioning Soldiers for careers in the solar industry, Guler said that employers are eager to hire, but the challenge is finding candidates who are willing to relocate. She noted that several participants have received positions starting at a higher level than what they originally anticipated when entering the training program.
“Like any other career skills program that we offer, in order for it to be successful, the participants have to be willing to relocate to where the jobs are,” Guler said. “What’s different about this program is that all the employers are going to be from that advanced manufacturing, high-growth area along the I-90 corridor. Soldiers who intend to stay in New York state and are willing to relocate for those jobs will be the best candidates.”
Alcott said that local manufacturers are invited to meet with the Soldiers on the last day of training for informal, working lunch meetings. Participants can learn more about what kind of jobs are available and submit applications.
“This is a great opportunity for Soldiers to connect with our college, as we have partnerships with advanced manufacturers throughout the state,” she said. “When all of these manufacturing facilities are on line, there will be a tremendous need for a skilled workforce. We want to keep our highly trained Soldiers in New York state to fill these positions.”
To learn more about this workshop and how to apply, visit the SFL-TAP office in Clark Hall, Room B2-13, or call (315) 722-3284.