Next Frontier Advanced Manufacturing Institute (NFAMI) and Highlands College of Montana Tech to Partner, Train Transitioning Soldiers/ Military Spouses for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing through LIFT’s “Operation Next” Program

Butte, Montana – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, in partnership with New Frontier Advanced Manufacturing Institute (NFAMI) and Highlands College of Montana Tech, have announced their partnership to provide free training to transitioning service members, National Guard, Army Reserves, and their families in Montana for careers in advanced manufacturing through LIFT’s Operation Next initiative. 1 in 10 individuals in the state of Montana are military veterans.

Through LIFT and the Department of Defense, Operation Next provides an accelerated-hybrid program that combines online education with hands-on training to earn credentials for in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing – including Industrial Technologies Maintenance (ITM), Robotics, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) and Welding. Each year 200,000 service members transition out of the military.

“We are thrilled to partner with LIFT and be able to bring the Operation Next program to our service men and women in Southwest Montana,” said Benjamin Kohler, Executive Director, NFAMI. “Our community has been amazingly receptive to this concept, and we will be training these fine individuals and helping them obtain industry leading certifications in CNC machining and welding at no cost to the students.”

Based in Butte, Montana and a 501(c)(3), NFAMI is an advanced manufacturing institute organization focused on a mission of supporting and elevating veterans and transitioning service men and women through training and certifications in advanced manufacturing. NFAMI was founded by Universal Achemetal Titanium, LLC (a majority owned Universal Technical Resource Services company) who has been a long-standing member of the community.

Said Montana Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee: “The men and women who risk their lives to defend our country deserve to be treated with dignity after their time in uniform, and the same goes for their spouses and family members. This training will directly connect our transitioning servicemembers and their loved ones with the education and tools they need at no cost—setting them up for success as they pursue new careers here at home.”

Karen VanDaveer, Dean of Highlands College added: “This is such a natural fit for Highlands College with our incredible faculty and facilities. When NFAMI can to us with the concept of supporting our military personnel to obtain these certifications, we jumped at the opportunity. To bring this to fruition in less than a year is a true testament to NFAMI and my team.”

“Partnerships like these are critical for Operation Next to have the impact it is designed to have 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 NFAMI and Highland College to bring Operation Next to Montana and help these servicemembers begin their advanced manufacturing careers.”

Additionally, Operation Next is working in conjunction with Accelerate Montana, a statewide economic development initiative put forth by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, to identify additional funding opportunities for Operation Next program augmentation and potential expansion.

Operation Next is currently training former military members and their spouses in         14 locations across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. It is estimated that nearly 2.5 million advanced manufacturing workers will be needed to fill vacant positions in the U.S. by 2028.