Leeward Community College Partners with LIFT’s Operation Next Program to Train Transitioning Soldiers, Military Spouses and Veterans for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing

LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, and Leeward Community College have announced a partnership to provide free training & national certifications to transitioning service members, National Guard, Army Reserves, and their families for careers in advanced manufacturing through LIFT’s Operation Next initiative.  The program has recently expanded to serve veterans as well.

Each year 200,000 service members transition out of the military across the nation, Operation Next provides training and certification so those transitioning will be able to fill critical high-skill high-wage career positions in advanced manufacturing at locations across the nation.

Through LIFT and the Department of Defense, Operation Next provides an accelerated-hybrid training program that combines online education with hands-on training to earn credentials for in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing. Leeward CC will train students in Industrial Maintenance Technology and Computer Numeric Control (CNC).

Leeward Community College is part of the University of Hawaii system. It’s central location on the island of O’ahu provides access to service members stationed at Fort Shafter, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Marine Corps Base Hawaii – Kaneohe, Schofield Barracks, U.S. Coast Guard Base, Wheeler Army Air Base as well as Camp H.M. Smith, and all outlying tenant commands.

“We welcome LIFT’s Operation Next initiative to help our transitioning service member community. Hawaii is home to many service members who will benefit from the training being offered,” said Keala Chock Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer at Leeward Community College.

“Leeward Community College has a proud history of serving military members,” said William Labby, Integrated Industrial Technology Program Coordinator and Operation Next training coordinator. “Operation Next provides training and certification programs for exiting military members, enabling them to transition to high skill-high wage careers. Additionally, veterans and military family members benefit from this program by obtaining career skills that are portable and in demand nationwide.

“Partnerships like these are critical for Operation Next to realize the nationwide impact the program is designed to accomplish and provide opportunities for our service members and their families,” said Marianne Donoghue, Senior Director, Talent Programs, LIFT. “We greatly welcome the opportunity to work with Leeward Community College to bring Operation Next to Hawaii and help eligible service members begin their advanced manufacturing careers.”

Operation Next is currently training eligible military, family members, and veterans at 14 locations across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. It is estimated that nearly 2 million advanced manufacturing workers will be needed to fill vacant positions in the U.S. by 2028.  For information on program specifics or to register contact the program coordinator at