Makhi Butler, a Trenton, NJ, resident and former U.S. Marine, has found a new career as a CNC machinist after attending Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM).

Featured on the Military Makeover segment of the Montel Williams Show, Makhi Butler highlights his career pivot in Operation Career. Butler entered the United States Marine Corps after high school. As his service contract neared completion, he found a future career path in CNC machining through ATDM.

ATDM is a workforce development program for the submarine industrial base. Workers receive 600 hours of coursework in 16 weeks and earn industry certifications to pursue careers in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, non-destructive testing, metrology, or welding.

When asked about the challenges of a career shift, Butler responded, “It’s about pivoting and never retreating. Just being in the moment, analyzing the situation, and knowing I would be okay.”

“This program is a great fit for those transitioning from the military into civilian life because we are already disciplined, we already have the motivation, and this is a great start and a great moment to capitalize on it,” said Butler.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” said Philip Bowers, non-destructive testing instructor at ATDM. “You just show up, we train you, you get the hours, you get the experience, you get experience with transitioning … and at the same time you’re learning your skill set.”

Bowers retired from the U.S. Navy in 2018 after 20 years of service and is one of several staff members at ATDM with a military background.

Butler completed a 16-week program in CNC machining and graduated with his cohort in February 2024 with multiple job offers.

The Montel Williams Military Makeover: Operation Career segment will air on Lifetime at 7:30 a.m. EST/PST on February 9 and February 15.


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