An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | May 9, 2024

St. John’s River College to offer LIFT’s Operation Next Program, Bringing Advanced Manufacturing Job Training to the Region


LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, today announced that St. John’s River College will be offering its advanced manufacturing career training through the Operation Next initiative. $2 million in funding has been made available through the State of Florida, led by State Sen. Doug Broxson and State Rep. Alex Andrade to help support the training program across the state.

LIFT’s Operation Next partners with community colleges to provide training to transitioning military members, the National Guard, Reserves, and their families for careers in advanced manufacturing. The program has expanded to serve veterans as well as members of the civilian population.

Developed by LIFT and the Department of Defense, 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, including Computer Numeric Control (CNC), welding, robotics, and industrial technology maintenance. Each year, 200,000 service members transition out of the military across the nation. Operation Next provides service members with the opportunity to earn these certifications and smoothly transition into their civilian careers.

“Operation Next is an outstanding program and opportunity for not just active-duty service members, but veterans, their families, and civilians who are looking to begin a new career in advanced manufacturing,” said Tom Leek, Appropriation Chairman for the Florida House of Representatives. “We are pleased to be working with LIFT in the Jacksonville area to support our students and our region’s manufacturing base.”

“Partnerships like these are critical for Operation Next to have the impact it is designed to have and provide opportunities for our service members and their families,” said Robert Shaner, Vice-President, Talent, LIFT. “We greatly welcome this opportunity with St. John’s River College as we collaborate to foster pathways to advanced manufacturing careers.”

It is estimated that nearly 2 million advanced manufacturing workers will be needed to fill vacant positions in the U.S. by 2028.

To learn more about Operation Next, or to enroll, please visit


About LIFT

LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry, and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on X @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.