MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On this Memorial Day, we honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. But for those who have served our country, transitioning out of the military and into civilian life isn’t easy. Workshops for Warriors is a national program making a difference in the lives of veterans.
Headquartered in San Diego, Workshops for Warriors trains, certifies and places veterans and transitioning service members into advanced manufacturing jobs.READ MORE: Police ID Bodies Of Two Girls Found In Lauderhill Canal, Name Mother Person Of Interest
With a degree in business management, Rossi Patterson struggled to find work.
“I had no job lined up, and I saw the skills that they could provide for me, so I decided to jump on and take the risk.” The four-month program provides hands-on training in fields like welding and robotics.
Patterson said Workshops for Warriors “actually changed my life in the most positive sense.”
Hernan Luis y Prado is founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors.
He said, “It takes anywhere from four to 40 months to train a service member to be competent in their job. Yet, America provides five days of training for them to become civilians again.”READ MORE: 2 Of South Florida’s Top Cops React To Miami-Dade Mayor’s White House Visit For Gun Violence Discussion
Veteran unemployment in the U.S. was 5.3% in April, up from 4.6 the in March, according to the Labor Department.
Hernan Luis y Prado said Workshop for Warriors provides a pipeline of skilled labor.
“You’re gonna need a vanguard of highly experienced, competent, dedicated people, and that’s what veterans will do,” he said.
Ninety-five percent of veterans who graduate from the program find employment. The starting salary for a job is about $60,000. Workshops for Warriors is the only accredited school in the nation to provide training at no cost to veterans. Many vets land jobs with major companies like Tesla, Boeing, Google, and SpaceX.
Patterson landed a job after graduation. He now mentors other veterans.
“They don’t know if they’re gonna get the next paycheck, so I’m there to walk them through the actual transition process,” he said.MORE NEWS: Miami Dolphins Team Up With Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Broward For Pride Month Initiative
Since 2008, the non-profit has graduated more than 850 vets, giving them hope and new skills to reshape America.