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72 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 program because we will be the first manufac- turing-focused Career Skills Program (CSP) on the base. There are currently 17 CSPs offered to transi- tioning military personnel to give them skill sets to move into the civilian workforce, but none of them have a manufacturing focus. It will be the first one. And that's exciting for us and exciting for them. Dill: One of our chal- lenges has been get- ting feedback from manufacturers in general, as to what s p e c i f i c s k i l l s a re important in their new hiring process because we want to make sure we inte- grate all of these n e e d s w h e n we launch this program. Everyone is so busy right now, trying to reset and move forward with our new environment, that we're having some difficulty getting feedback. But if there are manufacturers out there that are interested in potentially consider- ing hiring our veterans and giving us some input on some of their important skills, we would certainly appreciate that. If they'd reach out to us and make that contact, it's critical for us to move forward quickly once we have a little relief. We must clearly understand what is critical for manufacturers when it comes to either upgrading their workforce or the new workforce, but—more specifically—the new workforce, and mostly veteran-focused. Johnson: Blackfox touches on a three-circle Venn diagram. You have industry needs around staffing, employer needs around staffing, and veteran transition needs. You're working in the dead center of that Venn diagram. Dill: Exactly. You've got it, Nolan. I very much appreciate that. Johnson: It's a good program. possible on COVID- 19 relief-type activi- ties. We've been doing whatever we can to strengthen our infrastructure a n d b e re a d y f o r a post-COVID-19 environment to uti- lize that vehicle and really help veterans successfully transfer to civilian careers. Regarding veterans, from a Blackfox stand- point, we had best-laid plans, and then COVID- 19 happened. We had a number of manufactur- ing partners lined up to support the effort, and the goal was to have a physical training cen- ter near the bases here in Colorado Springs to upskill them with manufacturing skills to help them transition. We have taken that desire and purpose but pivoted to an online e-learning platform, which we'll launch later this year. It is still very veteran-focused. The goal will be for veterans to be able to uti- lize these trainings at little to no cost to them, whether that's through WIOA funding, work- force centers, nonprofit donations (such as Evo- lution Foundation), or other methods that we'll discover. The other organizations that we're working with are the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Heroes MAKE America, their sub-organization; Blackfox was going to be their first affiliate partner. They are currently on three other bases across the USA and need help to expand into further bases. And we were going to be that first affiliate partner to expand into Colo- rado Springs for them and manage the train- ing for these transitioning veterans. That is still slated to happen, and discussions on that will resume in early 2021. They have just had to dial everything back because they had to pivot all of their programs, obviously being online, plus all of the other 2020 debacles have slowed things down. But the progress is still there. The NAM organization, as well as our contacts at the various military bases here in Colorado Springs, are all very excited for this Jahr Turchan Al Dill

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