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Torchmate CNC Cutting Systems Donates to Veteran Program Workshop for Warriors

Returning military veteran Hernan Luis y Prado had struck on an idea that tackled some of the most disheartening problems facing returning soldiers — homelessness, unemployment and depression. Luis y Prado wanted to train a workforce of veterans for new careers in skilled manufacturing through classes on CNC machining, welding and fabricating. But as a returning veteran without deep pockets, Luis y Prado knew he needed help to set up a world-class metal, welding and machining workshop.

Reno, Nev.’s Torchmate CNC Cutting Systems stepped in to help Luis y Prado, and a partnership formed that is today teaching dozens of military veterans technical job skills on world-class machinery, preparing returning soldiers for careers that are in demand in today’s manufacturing marketplace.

Torchmate deeply discounted and shipped out a 7X12 Torchmate 3, a state-of-the-art machine worth $24,000 that has plasma-cutting capabilities and versatile manufacturing and fabricating uses. Today, veterans, some injured from war, are using the Torchmate machine to prepare themselves for a new career in the growing U.S. manufacturing industry, where CNC machines are used to build ships, cars, airplanes and repair engines and machinery.

“Without Torchmate’s support, we would not be able to create handicapped ramps, custom handrails for bathrooms, modify spaces for wheelchair support, and retrofit vehicles so that an injured service member can regain his independence,” said Luis y Prado. “Most importantly, we are teaching veterans a new career, one that now includes CNC plasma production, an incredibly useful skill which allows our veterans to be more marketable in this difficult economy.”

Luis y Prado now leases a 7,500 sq. ft. facility in San Diego that has the capacity to train well over 100 veterans per year. San Diego is a place where many U.S. Navy veterans remain after retiring or being discharged from duty. In California, one in four veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 were homeless in 2009, and that number is expected to rise as more veterans return from foreign duty. 

“Torchmate is proud to be a part of Workshop for Warriors’ mission to lend a helping hand to veterans in need,” said Torchmate Chief Operating Officer Joe Hoffman. “As a company, we feel a deep commitment to help the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country. And we are pleased that many returning veterans will now learn or perfect manufacturing career skills on a Torchmate machine.”

Workshops for Warriors teaches welding, sheet metalworking, CNC plasma, and diesel and gasoline engine repair. The non-profit has five full-time instructors and eight volunteers that include welders, ASE-certified mechanics, contractors and underwater welders. The shop offers a flexible curriculum that includes formal classes and informal training sessions to help fit the schedules of its students.

Workshops for Warriors connections in the military and with large manufacturing companies ensures that veterans who pass through the program have jobs waiting for them when they graduate.

Fore more on Workshops for Warriors, a Board-governed nonprofit organization, got to: