The Merrill Institute was featured on Lifetime TV’s Military Makeover: Operation Career

Parent Company MERRILL Proudly Supports Those Who Served

Recently, the Merrill Institute was featured on Lifetime TV’s Military Makeover: Operation Career hosted by Montel Williams. The show focuses on military Veterans transitioning from military service back to civilian life and highlights organizations that support Veterans through education and employment. In the episode, MERRILL team members Rayann Crum (U.S. Marine Corps Veteran) and Kellen Ritter (U.S. Army Veteran) – both Merrill Institute graduates – discuss their experiences with the Institute and transitioning to civilian life.

You can watch Rayann and Kellen on Military Makeover: Operation Career here.

The Merrill Institute was founded by MERRILL in 2011 to address a national shortage of welders by providing hands-on welding instruction and certification. The 12-week program provides students with expert training from AWS-certified instructors in a real working environment, with 97% of graduates securing employment in a high-demand industry. Military Veterans who attend the program can apply their VA Education Benefits to the cost of tuition and graduate with valuable skills necessary for the civilian workforce.

We spoke with MERRILL CEO, Bob Yackel, to learn more about the impact of the Merrill Institute’s appearance on national TV and why MERRILL is investing in military Veterans.

What’s the feeling around MERRILL and the Institute after seeing your people and your facility on national TV?

We’re all really excited. It’s an incredible opportunity for the Institute and for our company, not only to highlight such a high-quality welding training program, but to showcase a local, Michigan-based company supporting America’s military Veterans. MERRILL prides itself on being an American company that supports some of our country’s most critical industries, including defense and aerospace.

Both Rayann and Kellen did a great job telling their stories and speaking to their experiences of life after serving their country. We’re proud of them both, and we’re proud of Jason North, Director of the Merrill Institute, for really capturing how the Institute can help people find a career in a high-demand industry.

Why is MERRILL investing in the Merrill Institute?

We’re always looking for well-trained welders and fabricators, and we’re also aware of the shortage of these highly skilled workers. So, we founded the Merrill Institute with that gap in mind. It serves as a pipeline for our business, and for a lot of others as well.

Currently, the Institute partners with 125 companies around the country, with 97% of graduates securing immediate employment upon graduation. These are important jobs in critical industries. And if we’re going to keep our country strong and our economy strong, we need a skilled workforce to make that happen.

Why is it so important that MERRILL invests in military Veterans, and what unique skillsets do they bring to the company?

You can look at this in two ways. First, it’s the right thing to do. Veterans have sacrificed a lot to serve our country, and we want to do what we can to help them be successful after serving, whether it’s through education, employment or both.

Second, it’s the smart thing to do, because we know the kind of person we’re getting when we bring a Veteran onto our team. We know they’re dependable, hardworking – and they have experience working as a team.

The work we do at MERRILL isn’t easy. We have to meet tight deadlines for our customers, meet critical requirements. Our work has to withstand tough environmental conditions and, most importantly, it has to keep people safe. Veterans understand what’s at stake, and as a company that supports the defense industry, it’s another way for them to continue serving their country.


If you are interested in working for MERRILL and supporting our country’s most critical industries, visit and apply today. For more information on the Merrill Institute, visit