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Community Highlights: Meet Hernán Luis y Prado of Workshops for Warriors

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hernán Luis y Prado.

Hi Hernán, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
In 2008, I founded Workshops for Warriors. When I returned from a combat tour in Iraq I saw people I served with in the Navy, competent, capable and honorable men and women struggling to find purpose in the civilian world. When one of my Marines lost his legs to a roadside bomb, I knew I had to do something, My wife Rachel and I sold our house, cashed out our savings and retirement plans and started Workshops for Warriors.

Workshops for Warriors is the only non-profit school in America that provides accelerated manufacturing training, nationally recognized credentials, and places veterans and transitioning service members into advanced manufacturing jobs in machining, welding, robotics and 3D printing.

This is critical because there are currently over 720,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in America due to a lack of skilled labor. This number will more than double by 2030 compromising our country financially and putting us a risk.

Workshops for Warriors has experienced tremendous growth since 2008 and we will soon celebrate a major milestone, 1000 graduates.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest challenge for us is simply money. We are proven. We have almost 1000 graduates who have earned 9,221 nationally recognized and portable certifications. Ninety-four percent of our graduates are placed in jobs with average starting salaries of $60,000 annually after our four-month accelerated program. With additional financial support, we can train more veterans and accomplish our mission of rebuilding American manufacturing, one veteran at a time.

We’ve been impressed with Workshops for Warriors, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Veterans and transitioning service members attend our non-profit school with no out-of-pocket costs and earn nationally recognized certifications in our machining or welding programs. We are located on Main Street in Barrio Logan and thanks to the support of individual donors, organizations and major corporations like Ford, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. and Boeing, have grown over 350 times our original footprint.

Every four months, we graduate a new class, turning capable, mission focused, and team-oriented veterans into the new American advanced manufacturing workforce.

How do you think about luck?
We pride ourselves on the hard work, planning and perseverance that have contributed to our success, but I have never doubted that luck is on our side. We are grateful for all the opportunities that have come our way.

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