LIFT’s “Operation Next” Trains 101 Soldiers, Preparing Them for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing

Lightweight Materials, Workforce

LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a Detroit based, Department of Defense-funded applied research and development institute operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) and a member of Manufacturing USA, today announced it has hit its goal of providing education and training to 101 separating soldiers for their next careers – in advanced manufacturing.


Operation Next, powered by LIFT and launched as a pilot in early 2018 at Fort Campbell, Ky., is an innovative training and credentialing program providing a blended learning curriculum to soldiers within their last six months of service, but while still on active duty. Successful participation results in the individual earning one or more nationally portable, standards-based, industry-recognized credentials in high-demand manufacturing fields, enabling them to find high-paying, high-skilled jobs, which drive the national manufacturing economy.

The pilot established a goal of enrolling 101 soldiers in honor of the 101st Airborne housed at Fort Campbell. Nearly 90% of the program graduates have been hired into industry, while the remaining have chosen to continue their education or take some time off before joining the workforce.