Stepping Up to help Veterans

November 8, 2013

His equipment helps fly the apache helicopter and the Shuttle Atlantis among other aviation wonders. Most importantly he believes in hiring Veterans because he is one. George Castle of Advanced Torque Manufacturing has been dedicating his life to Veteran’s causes. In between this Terryville business owner has been inventing some remarkable tools.

He is the leader in the torque field for more than 20 years because of his products notably the precision torque wrenches he dreams up. There are torque wrenches including Click-Out and Clutch-Out Wrenches, Socket Wrenches, Rotary Load Cells and Digitally Controlled Multipliers. His trademark is he is ± 1% accuracy within the full range.

For companies who use his product that accuracy means safety and major money savings.

His products are mainstays on Army, Navy and Air Force bases and in the aerospace, power generation, marine, industrial, automotive and commercial sectors. He has a dozen full time employees and a number of part time workers. He also makes it a point to hire veterans.

George Castle served in the Army during Vietnam. He is currently the commander of Post 22 of the Franco-American Veterans in Bristol and was recently elected the national commander of the Franco-American War Veterans.

On a recent tour of his business Castle told me, “With the economy the way it is, veterans coming out of service are looking for jobs and they need the help and assistance from other veterans.”

It seems so simple yet makes a big difference in the lives of our men and women returning from active duty. Castle has been appointed by Plymouth’s Mayor as the military advocate for Terryville and Plymouth. In that position, Castle is told about veterans who may need help with work and if he has a job to offer they are considered. Otherwise he directs them to those who can help. Castle also works with Army Strong, which is a terrific program located out of City Hall in Bristol. They too match Veterans with services.

In addition to local groups the state also has a wonderful program to connect Veterans with jobs. It is called the Step Up for Vets program. This is similar to the Step Up wage subsidy program except that it is open to any company, regardless of size.

The six-month wage subsidy helps pay a new employee’s salary for the first six months of employment. It provides employers with up to $20 per hour, for a maximum of $12,000 over a 180-day period.

According to the state Department of Labor, programs have helped 70 veterans find work at 51 companies statewide. For employees taking part in the Step Up for Vets program, the average starting hourly wage is over $16 and positions include accountants, graphic designers, machine operators, fiber optic technicians, quality control and job coaches.

With Connecticut’s unemployment rate at more than 8 percent approximately 150,000 people are unemployed. When you factor in those who have stopped looking for jobs that number could be higher and many of these people are veterans.

George Castle and his company should be a model for all small and large business owners. What he commits to is easy to comprehend Veterans have been loyal to their country and it is time we are loyal to them.

Employers interested in taking part in the “Step Up for Vets” program can find their regional coordinator by visiting www.StepCT.com.

To find out more about Army Strong in Bristol please visit my Veterans Corner at www.senatorjasonwelch.com or log onto www.arfp.org.