Fort Rucker, Maxwell Airforce Base, Alabama National Guard and Reserve Offered Opportunity for Advanced Manufacturing Certifications

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

BIRMINGHAM, HUNTSVILLE, MOBILE, MONTGOMERY, AL. – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, in partnership with AIDT, a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, today announced its “Operation Next” advanced manufacturing certification program is being made available to members of Fort Rucker, Maxwell Airforce Base, and the Alabama National Guard and Reserve and their spouses.

As training inaugurates this month, an initial 100 individuals are being recruited in Alabama as “Operation Next” also looks to make the program available to members of Fort Benning, on the Alabama/Georgia border, and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

Operation Next is an innovative, self-paced, advanced manufacturing-focused training and credentialing initiative, which blends hands-on and virtual learning. Alabama exiting military and National Guard and Reserve members are now able to take part in the program, following the states of Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, 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.

“As a former commander over military recruiting and retention, our team worked closely with AIDT in our efforts to find qualified applicants for our respective programs and job vacancies,” said Col. Roger “Brad” Benton. I recognize the importance of programs like this to the military community and the positive impacts it will make to the job market across the state.

“This program is a powerful resource for the military community that affords them the opportunity to receive specialized training in a variety of career fields at little to no cost to the individual that ultimately leads to employment opportunities.

“We have asked a great deal from the men and women of our armed forces in recent years as they have deployed multiple times into combat, said Col. Ken Brown RET., an Air Force Veteran and veteran of the Vietnam War. Providing them with free job training and solid opportunities for employment seems the least we can do for both our veterans and their spouses to honor their sacrifices.”

AIDT, a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, will recruit military members 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

AIDT provides a full range of customized technical training programs that are offered at no cost to employers and to trainees.  AIDT offers services including trainee recruitment and screening, safety assistance, industrial maintenance assessments, continuous improvement/process improvement assessments, and leadership training programs.

“We’re proud of Alabama’s long history of support for the US Military and their personnel.  This is a new way to train not only the military personnel and their spouses, but also connect them to Alabama’s companies. It’s a win-win for everyone.” Said Ed Castile, Executive Director of AIDT.

“Our military members have the leadership, commitment and motivational skills our advanced manufacturing sector needs, particularly 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-sponsored national manufacturing innovation institute, our goal is to drive American manufacturing into the future through technology and talent development and bringing Operation Next to Alabama 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.

Exiting military and members of the Alabama Guard and Reserve can enroll at:

About LIFT

LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry, and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.