It being Veterans Day, I was particularly interested to see that Whirlpool Corporation has been named one of the 2015 Top Military Friendly Employers by Victory Media Inc., a veteran owned company and ratings entity. Additional recognition for Whirlpool includes earning the Michigan Veteran’s Affairs Agency’s 2014 Bronze Level Award for commitment to military veteran recruitment, training and retention; and both the 2014 Pro Patria Award and recognition as a top veteran friendly employer among large companies by the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.


Whirlpool, the global manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, is known for its brands that include Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul and Bauknecht. The company explains that it values America’s veterans and believes the skills they receive through military training are critical to our workforce. That’s why its Whirlpool Veterans Association (WVA) advocates veteran recruiting in partnership with Orion International—a provider of best-in-class military talent programs that allow organizations to attract, hire, develop and retain top quality veterans. Together, they have developed a mentorship program to help new hires with military backgrounds.


“As more and more veterans return to the workforce, it’s very important that Whirlpool Corporation and other companies with similar values acknowledge the talents veterans have to offer,” says Lynanne Kunkel, vice president of Global Talent Development and Human Resources at Whirlpool. “The skills these men and women learn in quick decision-making, teamwork and leadership are vital to creating a strong and talented workforce representative of the values the United States is founded on.”


Through on-boarding support for veterans and their families, Whirlpool helps veterans transition from military service to civilian life, the company explains. As part of Whirlpool’s mentoring program, veterans and mentors help new hires make the transition to new positions and progress to executive leadership. Members support and recognize veteran colleagues, give back through service and support community events.


Today, I also have the Get Skills to Work initiative on my mind because it helps service members translate military experience to the specific skills needed in the industry, and train for the skills they do not yet have. Led by the Manufacturing Institute, GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and more than 500 other small-, medium- and large-sized manufacturers—along with academic and not-for-profit partners—the coalition strives to train military veterans for advanced manufacturing careers, bolster the talent pipeline and enhance American competitiveness. The goal is to train 100,000 veterans by 2015.


There are two main elements to the Get Skills to Work initiative. The first is to match veterans’ skills to civilian job responsibilities to support hiring veterans for manufacturing jobs. The second goal is to accelerate training so veterans can quickly up-skill and be prepared for manufacturing careers. Not only will the initiative present opportunities for veterans returning from active duty, it will also support the skilled workforce needed in today’s advanced manufacturing industry.


The initiative continues to gain traction. Earlier this year, Get Skills to Work announced that more than 50 colleges are now part of the coalition helping veterans discover careers in advanced manufacturing.


What are your thoughts on training veterans for careers in manufacturing? Does your company have a plan of this sort?