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Wounded Vet Prepares to Enter Workforce Via DOE Training Program

August 12, 2014

While 26-year-old wounded veteran Joseph Grabianowski has inspired Americans with his harrowing war story, someday he may be nationally known for building highly efficient exhaust systems for cars and trucks using 3D printing technology. Grabianowski is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s inaugural Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Internship. This pilot program is designed to provide accelerated, hands-on career training for veterans and next-generation engineers to prepare them to quickly enter the workforce of the growing advanced manufacturing industry. 

Grabianowski stepped on an IED while deployed with his Army unit in Afghanistan in 2012. Damage from the blast required a rare, radical amputation of his lower body. He had long dreamed of being a U.S. Marshal but knew his path would now lead in a new direction. In a December 2013 interview with USA Today, Grabianowski said, “I still love my country…even though I can’t go be a Marshal now, I can still go do something that would be a good service to my country.” 

Barely two years later, his successful recovery is a testament to his personal will and determination. This self-proclaimed techie now envisions a career for himself in what he calls the “future of manufacturing,” which is additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. Through this pioneering program offered by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, ORAU, Pellissippi State Community College and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Grabianowski is receiving the training needed to make his career goals a reality and prepare him to succeed in the additive manufacturing world.

During this program, participants learn to design for advanced manufacturing needs and are educated on 3D printers, fabrication techniques, and materials including titanium, carbon fiber, ABS plastics and other composites.

According to Robert Ivester, Ph.D., deputy director in the Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, this six-week program is the first step in building a better system for providing veterans with timely training opportunities that will give them a competitive advantage when returning to the workforce.

This first program will end with a job fair at ORAU’s Pollard Technology Conference Center in Oak Ridge on August 14 and a graduation ceremony held at Pellissippi State Community College on August 15.  

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