Ready to Hire! Blackfox Provides IPC Class 3 Training to Veterans

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Many employers are a little bit leery of getting involved in applying for grants because of the perceived red tape that's involved. It's really to the benefit of the employers, because they don't have to do hardly anything. We take care of all that for them. If the veteran wants to tap into their VA benefits, Blackfox is approved for VA benefits. Any veteran who wants to go outside the normal model can come to Blackfox for training and certification and we can help them do that. The majority of folks that come through are guided through the whole process through the State and Federal folks.

Barry: When they come in for the training are they going to one of your four facilities? Is that how that works?

blackfox_al-interview.jpgAl: Right now they're all going through Colorado because our plan is to prove this model in Colorado first. Then we probably want to take it next to Arizona. Then we'll expand wherever the need is, and we don't necessarily have to have a training facility there—we can set up even a temporary facility, or use an employer’s facility, if need be. It's very expandable.

Barry: This sounds great. It actually sounds like very satisfying work.

Al: It is—absolutely.

Barry: So veterans are basically pre-hired when they come to you?

Al: They are. During this whole process, the employer that we work with has an opportunity to come in and meet with the veterans and interview with them. They can start the process running in parallel with the training for background checks and all the other things they require. By the time the veteran graduates, they're ready to go to work.

Barry: What's the cycle of the training?

Al: It varies, but usually between four and six weeks. We cover three to four IPC certifications and eight Blackfox certifications, which are skill-based certifications. That's a typical model of the curriculum.

Barry: Have you tracked retention rates for those who have been placed?

Al: We have on the first group. We're running at more than 60% retention. It's quite a success story. We’re after 100%, of course.

Barry: For that 40% that have dropped out, how does that work? Do they come back through?

Al: For the few that have not succeeded at class 3, there are many companies that hire for class 2 folks, too. They don't have to go into class 3. Not everyone can meet that criteria in such a short time frame, so for those who don't, again working with the State and employers, we help them find employment. None of our graduates are unemployed that I'm aware of at this point.

We ended up with a consortium of employers and the government. State and federal were involved, Blackfox, as well as a community college, but mostly Blackfox was the educational entity here so we tied these groups together. The most challenging part was connecting all the dots and getting everybody to speak together. There's a demand out there with the employers for highly skilled individuals. We have transitioning veterans coming in by the thousands right now who want to work, have a lot of very solid backgrounds and great work ethics. And we have the funding sitting out there that so many employers are not even aware of.

We're involved in trying to connect all these different entities to understand what the opportunities are. We've done this now for three years, training mostly veterans for career paths with prime employers like Lockheed Martin and in mil/aerospace and the like.

The average retention rate I've been told for these kinds of programs is under 30%. But this is highly targeted and it involves a lot of key players. Again, it took a long time to connect everybody, but we finally have it going and like I said, this is a model that can be emulated for other industries, not just for ours.

Barry: You're creating a model that is just so valuable, and what a great resource for employers because they know that whoever they hire through this program is well-trained and comes with some fundamentals and, as you say, a good work ethic or discipline.

Al: Exactly, Barry, and there's no cost to the veteran. There's no cost to the employer.

Barry: These are our heroes. We should take care of them.

Al: They're our heroes and we're proud to be part of this. It's a wonderful thing.

Barry: Al, thank you so much for sharing this story and I look forward to seeing you in Colorado very soon.

Al: Thank you.

CLICK HERE for more about the veteran's training program.

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The following video interview will give you some more insight into The Blackfox Difference:

Blackfox is the leader in providing quality training systems and custom courses to the electronic manufacturing industry's cutting edge companies. Blackfox is also the premier worldwide authorized IPC training center, providing all current IPC Certifications. For more information, visit them on the web at or contact Sharon Montana-Beard at



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