After serving their country, military personnel now have an opportunity to “serve” in a different capacity.

General Motors has partnered with the US Army, and defense contractor Raytheon, to provide automotive technician training for soldiers entering back into civilian life.

The “Shifting Gears” program is a twelve week automotive technician training course, where upon completion, graduates are certified GM technicians. Career counseling is supplied, with emphasis on opportunities at GM authorized dealers.

The goal of the program is to offer Army men and women a stepping stone between military service and civilian life.

Many in the program have prior experience with and exposure to complex mechanical equipment such as helicopters, tanks and trucks during their time in the service.

The Shifting Gears course is beneficial for both sides-the automotive service industry and the trainees. The need for qualified automotive technicians is increasing as cars and trucks become more advanced.

And with invaluable, hands-on training and access to professional-grade equipment-these Army vets are receiving the best possible training for a successful, new career.

The first round of graduates, 23 in all, recently completed their training at Fort Hood, Texas. They now have the skills, experience and career opportunities to succeed in their transition from active soldier to automotive technician. And that’s it, for this week’s MotorNews.