CNC Machines Chooses Kissimmee Coast Guard Vet for Veteran to Machinist Scholarship: Part of Effort to Grow and Diversify the Manufacturing Workforce
Founded in 2014, CNC Machines carries more than 500 machines to meet the needs of small to mid-sized American manufacturers. Earlier this year, the organization also announced a competitive award for students enrolled in a CNC machinist, CNC operations, engineering or manufacturing certificate or degree program which included a donation to the winner's machining or manufacturing department to help fund purchase or upgrade of tools or supplies. For more information go to cncmachines.com.
SANFORD, FL - - - CNC Machines announced today that it has chosen Cristina Velez Santos of Kissimmee, Florida as the recipient of its Veteran to Machinist scholarship. This is the third of three scholarships the organization will award this year.
CNC Machines, a Florida-based used CNC machine dealer, established the veteran-exclusive scholarship program late last year as a means of supporting both the longevity of the American manufacturing industry and veterans returning to civilian life who want to start new careers. To qualify, applicants submitted 1,000-word essays on why they want to become a machinist.
"We believe in being part of the solution to the manufacturing skills gap. Our goals with this scholarship program are simple: Grow the American manufacturing industry; and support veterans returning to civilian life and in search of their next career," said Curt Doherty, founder and CEO, CNC Machines.
"A diverse workforce is also essential to closing that skills gap and women are notably underrepresented in the field, making up only about 29 percent of employees," he added. "Ms. Santos is an outstanding example of the kind of talent that needs to be tapped into."
Santos served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years as a Boatswain's mate third class. During her first two-year stint, she worked aboard the USCG Cutter Elm, which would go to sea two weeks at a time then spent two years at a search and rescue small boat station where she provided translation services between the Coast Guard and local fishermen while on patrol and helped civilians during emergencies. During her service, she performed firefighting, search and rescue, navigation, rigging, deckhand duties, and maintenance; and operated heavy equipment.
"I enjoyed using tools and conducting maintenance the most during my time in the Coast Guard and learned about Valencia College's Accelerated Skills Program. I signed up for a tour of their Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and I found out about welding as a career option. I knew right away that I had found my career path," said Santos, who is enrolled in the school's Welding 1 program full time and works part-time to help pay for her education.
"I was able to start the Welding Program because I received a career source scholarship and a veteran grant but the CNC Machines Veteran to Machinist Scholarship makes a big difference in allowing me to obtain certifications to start my welding career," said Santos. "I hope to one day open my own custom fabrication shop, becoming a certified welding inspector, a certified welding educator, and contribute to the manufacturing industry and volunteer my skills to projects that benefit the community."
Past recipients of the CNC Machines Veteran to Machinist scholarship include:
• Terry Flannery of Cincinnati, Ohio, a disabled U.S. Army veteran who medically retired due to injuries suffered during his 12-year military career. He is pursuing his Artisanship in Woodworking Certificate from the University of Cincinnati's Wood Technology Program.
• Kevin Bruffet, a U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, and recipient of the Purple Heart and several other awards and commendations. He is enrolled in the mechatronics program at the Valencia Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Kissimmee, FL.
The Manufacturing Institute, in its publication, From Military Front Lines to Manufacturing Front Lines: Veterans and Your Workforce, concluded from research it conducted, that ex-military personnel make excellent manufacturing workers. The natural fit of veterans with manufacturing has also been called out by other military and manufacturing organizations including Military.com.