• Workshops for Warriors

    Ariel Corporation continued its commitment to veterans with a donation to Workshops for Warriors, a nonprofit based in San Diego that trains American soldiers for manufacturing jobs.

    Workshops for Warriors is currently working on a facility expansion it says will help train more veterans for jobs in welding and machining. The welding and machining classes are taught by veterans. WFW Director of Development John Jones said Ariel’s donation will do a lot to help achieve the goal.

    “The gift that Ariel gave us has really been transformational,” Jones said. “It’s really showing validity. It’s making things work for us quicker and faster. It really was a transformational gift.”

    Jones said Workshops for Warriors is entering a big year in 2018 and donations like Ariel’s and ones that followed from Reliant Steel and Timken Steel will have a major impact. The organization will be in its final year of GI Bill application, which will mean bringing in more staff to be prepared for an anticipated increase in students when GI Bill funding can be used for Workshops for Warriors classes. When GI Bill funding kicks in, WFW also will be able to use more donation money to help veterans who don’t have access to GI Bill funding.

    WFW is currently working to get its building expansion approved in San Diego, which will mean buying the land as part of the project. Jones said Workshops for Warriors can close on the land it needs because of what Ariel has done to help.

    Workshops for Warriors was founded with a goal of helping to eliminate problems like unemployment, homelessness, broken families and suicide in veterans. The group says 60 percent of its students are unemployed or underemployed and 26 percent of its students are in temporary housing.

    That is what is behind a $21 million project to expand. On its website, Workshops for Warriors said the finished project will provide five more machine labs, a job counseling center and new classroom buildings. In 2019, Workshops for Warriors would like to add a machinery repair class and more advanced machining courses. Jones said GI Bill funding could also allow students to stay longer with Workshops for Warriors and earn additional certifications to be more marketable in their field.

    WFW is the only nonprofit providing the training to veterans, wounded warriors and transitional service members. To date, it has graduated 456 veterans and helped them earn more than 2,700 nationally-recognized manufacturing credentials – all at no cost to the students. One of those graduates is Felton Shropshire, who works as a machinist in Ariel’s Akron facility.

    “My experience with Workshops for Warriors was phenomenal. Being selected to go through the program definitely eased the rather difficult transition from Active Duty Marine to a civilian,” Shropshire said. “The program’s curriculum made things very familiar once I was hired on to Ariel's team as a Machine Tool Operator. Workshops for Warriors created a solid foundation for me to continue to build upon so that I can become a successful Machinist.”

    The school also has a program that helps connect employers across the country to veterans with training to fill openings in their company.

    If you want to help Workshops for Warriors, the group accepts donations at https://workshopsforwarriors.org/donate/.

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