Fort Knox, Kentucky National Guard and Reserve Offered Opportunity for Advanced Manufacturing Certifications

LIFT’s “Operation Next” expands to support Kentucky military members

FORT KNOX, KY. – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, in partnership with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC), today announced its “Operation Next” advanced manufacturing certification program is being made available to members of Fort Knox and the Kentucky National Guard and Reserve and their spouses, providing them the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials in CNC machining and welding.

Operation Next is an innovative, self-paced, advanced manufacturing-focused training and credentialing initiative, which blends hands-on and virtual learning. Kentucky National Guard and Reserve members are now able to take part in the program, following the States of Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin with additional expansion planned across the United States. Operation Next also provides training opportunities for military spouses, all with funding through the Department of Defense Manufacturing Engineering Education Program.

Elizabethtown Community College will recruit members of Fort Knox and the Kentucky Guard and Reserve and their spouses to enroll in the Operation Next program and will guide students through their educational experience to the attainment of nationally portable and industry-recognized credentials through the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Army Career Skills Program (CSP).

ECTC is a comprehensive community and technical college that serves Breckinridge, Green, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Taylor, and Washington counties in Kentucky.

“The ability to add welding and machine tool operating – two popular and lucrative career options – to our already impressive CSP lineup will greatly benefit transitioning soldiers as they begin the next phase of their career,” said Mike Hazzard, ECTC Dean of Workforce Solutions. “Our goal with this program is to provide as many opportunities as we can to these soldiers to ensure they have skills and training for a lucrative occupation once they leave the military.

“The support of organizations like LIFT is what allows ECTC to continue to expand and improve CSP, Hazzard said.

“We are grateful for their contribution, which will mean we can connect even more transitioning soldiers from the military community with in-demand advanced manufacturing training,” he said.

“Our nation’s military members have the leadership, commitment and motivational skills the advanced manufacturing sector needs, particularly those members of the National Guard and Reserve who are ready, willing and able to work in their local economies,” said Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT. “As a Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, our goal is to drive American manufacturing into the future through technology and talent development and bringing Operation Next to service members in Kentucky keeps us on that mission.”

In addition to Operation Next’s expansion, with funding provided by the Department of Defense Manufacturing Engineering Education Program, the program is being offered to industry in support of small and medium-sized manufacturers in Detroit and Pittsburgh helping them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. That expansion is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and was awarded to LIFT by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Members of Fort Knox and the Kentucky Guard and Reserve can enroll at: