March 19, 2015
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Veterans to share intern experience on Reddit

Veterans interning at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will field questions on the popular social media website Reddit on Tuesday, March 24, about their career-technical education and training in support of national security research.

The veterans are pilot participants in the new Troops to Technology Workforce Development Initiative and are looking to share their experience with fellow vets and active-service members. Commonly referred to as Troops to Tech, the program is designed to train and educate service members and veterans for careers as skilled technologists. Participants include:

  • Army Staff Sgt Jeremy Taylor served in Afghanistan and is now at LLNL learning how to manufacture cooling arms and other custom engineered parts for the National Ignition Facility (NIF).
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Steven Leahy served in Iraq and is now at LLNL doing computer modeling at National Security Engineering Division's Pulsed Power Lab.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Fernando Campos served in Afghanistan as a radio operator and is now at LLNL learning how to manufacture chassis for the Master Oscillator Room at NIF.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Ryan Kelley served in the Mediterranean Sea and is now at LLNL in the High Explosives Application Facility (HEAF) learning how to launch projectiles at explosive targets.
  • Navy Machinist Mate Paul Cordner served aboard a fast attack submarine and is now at LLNL in the Additive Manufacturing Research and Design Lab learning the processes of advanced manufacturing from a design to a build.

How to participate

A link to the "AMA" (Ask Me Anything) event will be posted to the Reddit Military page the morning of Tuesday, March 24. Anyone with a Reddit account will be able to post questions for the veterans, which they will answer from 10 a.m. to noon PDT.

About the Troops to Tech program

Approximately 20,000 service members transition every month from across the active, national guard and reserve components, according to Department of Defense statistics. While there are many employment opportunities in various industries for them, not many jobs offer the high salaries of advanced manufacturing, which includes 3D printing. This industry has roughly 90,000 unfilled jobs, with a projected growth to more than 800,000 jobs by 2020, according to BMNT Partners.

The Troops to Tech program creates a pipeline to help service members and vets develop highly specialized advanced manufacturing skills. It intends to use higher education to provide relevant curriculum to service members, companies to identify and hire them and government agencies and nonprofits to provide existing resources to help with the transition from military to civilian workforce.

Program participants include: Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories, NASA Ames Research Center and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Las Positas College, Ohlone College, Palomar College, San Francisco State University, Foundation for California Community Colleges, BMNT Partners, Visionary Center for Sustainable Communities, Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation, California National Guard Office of the Adjutant General, California National Guard Work for Warriors Program, Army Reserve Career Division, U.S. Special Operations Command, Growth Sector, WIB, U.S. Department of Labor VETS Program and California Department of Employer Development (EDD).