FORT HOOD, Texas, Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army, General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) today announced the successful graduation of the first Shifting Gears: Automotive Technician Training Program class. Created as a multi-year partnership between the two companies and the Army, the program provides and empowers transitioning soldiers with the skills required to secure careers as GM service technicians.
During the graduation ceremony at Fort Hood, Texas, 23 soldiers will receive their certification as GM technicians, opening various service opportunities at GM dealerships across the country. Equipping soldiers with technical expertise and experiential training, the 12-week, on-base program also builds on core Army disciplines to provide students with self-management and problem-solving skills that will be invaluable throughout their civilian careers.
"As a soldier going through my second transition to civilian life, Shifting Gears provides me with a unique opportunity," said Sgt. 1st Class John McCuen, an Army helicopter repairer at Fort Hood with 23 years of service from Clarksville, Tenn. "After receiving my certification as a GM technician, I'm looking forward to benefiting from a civilian career that enables me to build on the knowledge that I acquired as an Army helicopter mechanic to provide for my family regardless of where we decide to live."
The U.S. Army, General Motors and Raytheon are committed to providing veterans with education and career opportunities following their military service. The instructor-led, hands-on training program walks students through the same real-life situations that they will see at GM dealerships, providing guidance and advice that will be beneficial during their transition to civilian careers.
"I have always had a passion for automotive mechanics, but was not sure how to pursue my dream upon completion of my service," said Spc. James Turner, an Army signal support system specialist at Fort Hood with seven years of service from Roseboro, N.C. "The Shifting Gears program is arming me with the skills and career opportunities that I need to succeed in my transition from active soldier to automotive technician."
"Participating in programs such as Shifting Gears enables our soldiers to obtain the specialized technical training that they will need in their civilian careers," said Col. Matt Elledge, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Hood. "Today's graduating class will bring a wide breadth of knowledge and skills to their local communities."
Shifting Gears is built on a customized curriculum developed by Raytheon Professional Services for General Motors. Raytheon instructors work hand-in-hand with soldier students such as McCuen and Turner to ensure that they can be successful in all elements of their careers as GM technicians, beyond simply working on automobiles.
The 23 graduates of the inaugural Shifting Gears class will have immediate access to employment opportunities as automotive technicians at thousands of GM dealers across the U.S. Veterans will also have exclusive access to GM's Web-based employment portal, helping them match career opportunities with their skillset.
"GM has supported our nation's military for more than 100 years. Along with our thousands of employees who have served in the military, we're eager to provide opportunity and advocate for these transitioning soldiers," said GM Global Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett. "They offer such skill, ability and experience – and they're going to be valued employees for our dealer partners."
"Veterans represent nearly 20 percent of the Raytheon workforce, so we know firsthand the unique qualities and work ethic that they bring to civilian careers," said Lynn Dugle, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "Shifting Gears delivers veterans the knowledge, skills and confidence to bridge the transition from military service to a civilian career. We are honored to lead the training of the Shifting Gears program and continue Raytheon's long-term commitment to the military services and U.S. veterans."
About the U.S. Army
For more information contact the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Army at (703) 697-7550. Or to learn more about the U.S. Army visit them online at http://www.army.mil/
About Fort Hood
Fort Hood is currently home to more than 41,292 soldiers and more than 69,487 family members (16,108 on post and 53,379 off post). We have approximately 5,000 DA Civilians and more than 14,600 contractors. When you include retirees who use the post for support, the total population supported by Fort Hood is more than 388,300. Fort Hood's Land Area equals 218,823 acres or 342 square miles. It stretches as far north as Waco, Texas; east to Temple, Texas; west to Copperas Cove, Texas; and south to Georgetown, Texas.
With thousands of military veteran employees, General Motors' support for the United States armed forces spans generations. Today, Chevrolet assists Cell Phones for Soldiers, Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a variety of employment and grassroots initiatives, and is the Official Vehicle of the Army-Navy game. The GM Military Discount program offers discounts on most Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles for active duty, reserves, retirees, veterans (within one year of separation) and spouses of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. GM proudly participates in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes initiative aimed at finding meaningful employment for veterans transitioning to civilian life.
Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.
Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt
SOURCE Raytheon Company