Alabama is home to one of the United States’ most rapidly growing advanced manufacturing ecosystems. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing employs 13% of Alabama’s workforce, accounting for a total output of almost $39B in 2018. With compensation averaging $68k per year, a job in manufacturing builds both individual and community economic stability. Deloitte’s 2021 Manufacturing Industry Outlook states that “manufacturing consistently posts average monthly job openings of 400,000” jobs in the U.S. Who will fill these jobs? The good news is that a ready workforce capable of filling available manufacturing jobs is present at any of the six military installations within the state of Alabama. And the even better news is that transitioning servicemembers bring work ethic, job skills and a willingness to learn to their civilian employers.
NextFlex designed its flagship workforce development program, FlexFactor®, around building interest and awareness of advanced manufacturing careers to ensure industrial hubs like Alabama’s have the workforce they need to sustain growth. Based on research that NextFlex commissioned last fall through a survey of over 150 veterans and servicemembers, 82% of respondents expressed some level of interest in the manufacturing industry. However, only 26% of respondents reported having a medium or high level of knowledge of available careers in manufacturing. This mismatch in interest and awareness led to the creation of the FlexFactor Military (FlexMil) program.