Aspire to inspire

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Elizabeth Engler Modic

Aspire to inspire before you expire. These words recently caught my attention and got me thinking about what it really means to inspire someone. Quite often people talk about needing to motivate someone – an employee, a student, a child – yet rarely do you hear someone say they are working to inspire that person, yet that action delivers a lasting impact.

inspire: to make (someone) want to do something: to give (someone) an idea about what to do or create; to cause (something) to happen or be created; to cause someone to have (a feeling or emotion)

Hernán Luis y Prado aspires to inspire.

Back in 2009, the Navy veteran who was working in the D.C. area noticed that there was little to no support for veterans as they transitioned back into civilian life. He frequently ran into fellow soldiers, many going through medical rehabilitation at the nearby hospital, who told him they didn’t have jobs or plans for careers. He knew that these people had qualities employers sought: They were trustworthy, responsible, and used to working under pressure. So how could he help?

The idea started when he invited a few of them to tinker on some of the manufacturing equipment behind his house (he always had an interest in manufacturing and engineering). This really connected with many of them. They found pride in repairing a piece of equipment or machining a component, but it didn’t stop there.

Today, Hernan runs San Diego-based Workshops for Warriors – – a full-scale veteran training program where 100% of the graduates have found employment in skilled manufacturing jobs. The school has a waiting list of applicants that continues to grow since the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization can only train 50 students per year through the 16-week, hands-on credentialing program. Graduates learn the necessary job skills to earn a steady income and are able to move themselves from economic insolvency into self sufficiency. These graduates have nationally recognized, portable credentials, making them employable throughout the U.S.

Hernán’s inspiration is spreading. The entire staff at Workshops for Warriors is veterans and volunteers. Monetary support is through private and corporate donations – Goodrich Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 to the organization in the last three years. Equipment and materials are also donated, with support coming from companies such as Sandvik Coromant, CNC Software, Haas Automation, Amada America, and Flow Int’l.

Hernán’s spent the last six years working to get the non-profit certification needed to receive tuition through the G.I. Bill. Once achieved – expected in 2015 – the school will be able to expand the number of veterans it can train and plans to open additional Workshops for Warriors in the U.S.

Refusing to take a salary, Hernán spends seven days a week training veterans to reenter civilian life with sound, professional skills. I could go on and on about his dedication, but I think you get it – I’m inspired.

Feel free to drop me an email about who inspires you or what you are doing to inspire those around you. – Elizabeth