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News | Nov. 29, 2023

LIFT’s Operation Next Program Receives $2 Million in Funding from State of Florida to Expand Training for Transitioning Soldiers, Military Spouses and Veterans for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing


LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, today announced it will expand its Operation Next advanced manufacturing certification program across the State of Florida, beginning with Pensacola State College. This expansion is being made possible by $2 million in funding from the state, an effort led by State Senator Doug Broxson.

LIFT’s Operation Next, which launched in 2017, provides free certification opportunities to transitioning active-duty military members, National Guard, Army Reserves, and their families, as well as veterans and civilians, for careers in advanced manufacturing, including welding, Computer Numeric Control (CNC machining), industrial technology maintenance, and robotics.

Pensacola State College is the first college in Florida to provide training opportunities under this new funding. The institute is currently working with additional Florida colleges.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue working with LIFT and providing Operation Next certification opportunities in the Pensacola region,” said Ed Meadows, President, PSC. “Advanced manufacturing is critical to our area and the State of Florida, so I applaud Senator Broxson and leadership at the state for enabling us to continue supporting the Florida workforce and manufacturing base.”

Operation Next provides an accelerated hybrid program that combines online education with hands-on training to earn credentials for in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing. Pensacola State’s rolling start program trains students in Computer Numeric Control (CNC) and Welding.

“Providing opportunities to our service members and veterans is the right thing to do for them, their families and the State of Florida,” said Senator Broxson. “We are happy to enable the continuing partnership between LIFT and Pensacola State College and look forward to additional colleges across the state to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“We are quite grateful for the leadership of Senator Broxson and his colleagues in the State of Florida,” said Nigel Francis, CEO and Executive Director, LIFT. “This vital funding is critical for Operation Next to have the impact it is designed to have and provide opportunities for our service members and their families.

“We greatly welcome the opportunity to expand upon our work with Pensacola State College and soon, other outstanding colleges throughout Florida as we work together to help these servicemembers, veterans and their families begin their pathway to well-paying advanced manufacturing careers in Florida.”

Operation Next is currently training former military members and their spouses in locations across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. It is estimated that nearly 2.5 million advanced manufacturing workers will be needed to fill vacant positions in the U.S. by 2028.

Learn more about Operation Next or apply at