With yesterday marking the occasion of Veterans Day, it was an appropriate time to stop and reflect on the sacrifices made by both active military and those who’ve served in the past. It’s also a good time to consider what needs to be done in order to support members of the military in the best possible way.
Unfortunately, Veterans Day is often looked at as a holiday known for sales – cars, mattresses, furniture – but lacks a sense of “coming together” to acknowledge those who served. Wouldn’t it be great if instead we focused on some sense of solemn remembrance and how we can pull together going forward?
A strong U.S. manufacturing base is vital to our defense efforts and national security. Being able to mobilize quickly in times of crisis is vitally important – creating and building the most innovative equipment in the world, even making prosthetics and other medical devices that can help returning wounded war fighters to improve their way of life.
Beyond that, manufacturing still has the “help wanted” sign out in a big way. With current returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan facing a higher-than-average unemployment rate – 9 percent nationally for veterans who’ve served since Sept. 11, 2001, vs. 7.2 percent for the rest of the population – manufacturing can offer great career opportunities for those making the transition back into civilian life.
A number of programs exist to assist with veteran job training, but not a good overall strategy for helping those vets. Manufacturing can be one part of it, but more needs to be done – and quite frankly, our veterans deserve better.
Manufacturing is essential in times of war for supplying our military, but it can go beyond by offering good careers for those who served. Making a connection between those two would be a fantastic way to honor those who’ve given so much more.