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Opinion

Remember Our Fallen Veterans – And Honor Those Still With Us!

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Hernán Luis y Prado
(Frank Rogozienski)

It was 100 years ago this month that America observed its first Veterans Day. Then known as Armistice Day, it commemorated the first anniversary of the ceasefire that ended World War I.

President Wilson acknowledged it this way: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show Her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

It was this uniquely-American spirit, this commitment to uphold a Constitution, not a bloodline or throne that compelled me to enlist in our nation’s armed forces.

I had the honor of serving combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The men and women who served alongside me were the bravest people I have ever known.

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Upon returning home, I encountered another enemy. I was losing more of my comrades-in-arms to drugs and suicide in San Diego than by bombs and bullets in Baghdad…and I was going to change that.

According to the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, an average of 17 veterans a day commit suicide in America. Today will be no different.

That is just not acceptable. That is why I started Workshops for Warriors, to provide the dignified transition our warriors deserve and gives America the workforce she needs.

You may not be aware that there are currently 2.4 million well-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs that go unfilled each year. According to a recently-released San Diego Military Affairs Council (SDMAC) study, direct military spending is $28.1 billion annually and growing. That’s one-fifth of San Diego’s GRP; and it represents 354,000 jobs.

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Without a pipeline of trained domestic talent, our nation’s defense contractors are outsourcing our National Defense to overseas labor. Labor that may not support us in time of conflict or if sea lines are cut.

This is where Workshops for Warriors (WFW) steps in. WFW is based in San Diego, which has 17,000 servicemembers who transition out of the military each year. WFW is a GuideStar platinum-rated 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit and is a beacon of hope for a better future. WFW provides hands-on, state-of-the-art compressed advanced manufacturing training for veterans, wounded warriors and transitioning service members to fill America’s void of qualified CNC machining, 3-D printing, welding and advanced manufacturing workers.

WFW has been hailed as “The most impressive facility I have ever seen” by Linda McMahon, administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

WFW delivers sharp, capable, career-ready veterans who graduate with much-needed advanced manufacturing skills. Most importantly, all of our training culminates in nationally-recognized portable and stackable credentials.

This nationally viable training pipeline, if properly financed and supported, can replenish America’s Advanced Manufacturing labor pipeline.

WFW is making a difference. By the numbers,

WFW has trained and placed 642 Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy veterans into high-paying careers throughout America.

Workshops for Warriors has a 95% placement rate.

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One $25,000 scholarship results in an average annual salary of $60,000 after just four months of training.

The problem? Consistent funding to expand our training facility.

Workshops for Warriors is in the midst of a $163 million expansion that will transform San Diego into the global epicenter for advanced green manufacturing training for transitioning servicemembers.

It is a tall order, but we have the finest pool of talent our nation has ever seen.

You can help. This Veterans Day, thank a veteran for his or her service and mean it. Sponsor a scholarship for a servicemember in transition.

You are not only giving these deserving warriors a new lease on life, you are honoring them with the privilege of rebuilding America’s advanced manufacturing sector – and Her state of readiness – one veteran at a time.™

To see what Rancho Santa Fe resident Dick Arendsee has to say about Workshops for Warriors, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIQTVN5hu4U&&t=18s

To see the story of Workshops for Warriors graduate Josh F., who was struggling with transition until he graduated from the Workshops for Warriors program and landed a well-paying career to support himself and his family, go to youtu.be/NOX7P048L00

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Email t@wfw.org to schedule a tour or learn how to sponsor a veteran today.

About the author: Hernán Luis y Prado is founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors. He served in the United States Navy for 15 years as a Hospital Corpsman and then as a Surface Warfare Officer, where he saw three combat tours of duty In Iraq and Afghanistan. Learn more about Workshops for Warriors at wfw.org.


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