Posted by Jill Worth | 08 / 31 / 16 0 Comments

At Rodon, we owe a great deal of our success to the work our toolmakers do. Toolmaking is one of our primary capabilities in our manufacturing process, and our team of professional toolmakers has over 25 years of experience producing high volume plastic parts.

outline of a soldier saluting in front of an American flagWhat kind of person makes for a great toolmaker?

This highly demanding job requires dedicated individuals who possess great technical aptitude. The search for toolmakers should surely include one subset of the population: veterans.

The Department of Labor projects, between 2014 - 2019, nearly 1.5 million service members will be transitioning from active duty into a civilian job. As a workforce, the veteran population holds numerous advantages, especially the current Iraq and Afghanistan War era, also known as the Gulf War-era II veterans. The United States military is the most technologically advanced military in the world. As such, it requires a highly technically proficient workforce. The returning veterans of today are disciplined, technologically savvy, and most have tested their skills in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Within the manufacturing world, a different migration is taking place. Baby Boomers, with an average age of 51-69 are quickly retiring from the workforce. Unfortunately, they leave well-paid and highly technical voids. The American manufacturing sector is facing a potentially critical shortage of skilled labor once the Baby Boomers have fully retired.

With the average age in the 20s, the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran is part of the Millennial Generation, which at 75 million strong, has recently overtaken the Boomers as the largest American generation. It also happens to be a generation that is taking its early steps in the workforce. The overlap of millennials and boomers in the workforce presents an excellent opportunity for companies to impart skill and experience to their next generation of workers.

Toolmaking is a great opportunity for the young veteran

This dynamic and sophisticated job requires the kind of dedication, strong problem-solving ability, and technical knowledge veterans have demonstrated during their service. As the shortage of toolmakers is projected to increase in the coming years, pay, which is already competitive, will only climb higher.

2 workers with welding masks welding

To become a toolmaker, there are several avenues. Many state schools and junior colleges offer degree programs which include math courses, CAD/CAM, and machine shop curriculum. The graduate then typically takes on an apprenticeship with a manufacturer for more on-the-job training. The good news here is the Post 9/11 G.I Bill is so robust, it can cover the costs of both schooling and the apprenticeship.  

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, those engaged with apprenticeships at participating employers will receive 100% of benefits during the first six months of training. After that, the benefits drop by 20% every additional six months. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the options for veterans have never been greater. For those pursuing toolmaking, where apprenticeships are typically paid, this presents an excellent opportunity to earn an exceptional standard of living. 

We encourage those still considering their career paths to look into toolmaking, and secure a spot in this in-demand, well-paid field with a great outlook for the future.  To learn more about these opportunities for Veterans, visit

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Topics: Manufacturing, STEM and Manufacturing Careers