Skyjack is working with its partners to help veterans step back into long-term permanent positions. The Service to Employment Program (STEP) is catered to helping U.S. veterans transition from active duty into rewarding careers as service technicians.

“We have a lot of Skyjacks in our fleet so it’s extremely beneficial to have their team come out and donate their time to provide that first-hand technical service training,” says Stephen Howe, service and maintenance training manager at United Rentals. “It’s a collaborative program where everyone involved reaps benefits in their own way.”

STEP is a two-tiered program where veterans receive technical training in a nine-week program, which includes basic training, supplier training, and on-the-job training. The end goal, is eventual job placement by United Rentals and they’ve successfully placed nearly 300 military veterans through their program since its 2013 inception.

“There are a lot of employment programs geared towards younger veterans who just recently completed service, but not a lot of programs in place that help older veterans find work,” says John “Tanker John” Mills, service technician at United Rentals. “I always had a shop at home and about a half a dozen projects in there at any given time, but was never a mechanic by trade. This program really helped me get my foot in the door.”

For his military career, Mills was a tank crewman and Platoon Sergeant. He graduated the STEP program in August 2017 and just marked his one year milestone with United Rentals. Mills works out of the United Rentals aerial branch in Irving, Texas and works on a variety of equipment, but primarily on booms.

“The STEP program teaches people of all different levels of mechanical aptitude,” Mills says. “There are experienced people advising and teaching you, and I’ve learned so much not only through the STEP training program, but over this past year as well. STEP has given me the training and opportunity for a successful career as a service technician.”

Service trainers from OEMs, such as Skyjack, participate in the month-long technical training, other contributors to the program include: Universal Technical Institute, who designed and delivers the basic training segment, Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) who, in addition to sharing some of the program costs with United Rentals, also provides recruitment and applicant screening support, and United Rentals who provides supervision for the on-the-job training segment, and congratulates successful graduates with a job placement.

“Skyjack has been committed to this program for nearly five years and we’re happy to help these veterans transfer their skillset from military vehicles to aerial work platforms,” says Dan Woodruff, service manager for Skyjack. “We’ve hosted 28 training sessions for STEP on various booms, scissor lifts, and vertical masts and are happy to help with this initiative.”