Workforce development initiatives that lack a thoughtful plan on how to support transitioning service members seeking employment is a threat to the economic vitality of our region. With as many as 13,000 veterans transitioning out of the military each year, workforce development stakeholders have a responsibility to build services and programs that target one of the largest communities of job seekers in Hampton Roads — our veterans and military spouses.
Far too long, programs aimed at helping transitioning service members have been redundant and often difficult to navigate for job seekers as a result of disjointed, albeit well-intentioned, efforts.
The Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center — established Jan. 24, 2018 — provides a unified process that advances employment opportunities for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses through workshops and seminars, connections to employment and educational opportunities, job search assistance services, and work skills assessments. Essentially, it’s a one-stop shop.
Led by the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and the Hampton Roads Chamber, the HRVEC is a regional collaboration supported by business, education, workforce development, economic development and locality partners – designed to streamline services and simplify the process for our transitioning service members.
As the regional convener of workforce development, it is incumbent upon us to develop strategic partnerships and deliver programs and services that respond to the needs of our local veterans.
What are the challenges they face as they transition out of the military? What existing barriers to employment can we help them overcome? How can we better engage with employers in the region to connect them with this untapped talent pool?
In less than two years, the HRVEC has reached 6,780 veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses. Job seekers from the military community have secured meaningful employment in the region through the center with an average salary of $47,038.
As important, within the last year, the center has hosted 27 onsite hiring events. Employers represented included Boeing, Dollar Tree, Newport News Shipbuilding, Military Sealift Command, Valkyrie, Top Guard, International Flooring, Virginia Beach Police Department, Mills Marine Ship Repair, Norfolk Public Schools, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Lincoln Military Housing, and several others.
Placing the job seeker’s needs at the forefront, we have successfully combined resources with more than 20 partners in Hampton Roads to more effectively help our veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses in the region as opposed to duplicating efforts.
We look forward to increasing the availability of these resources by launching a Veterans Employment Center on the Peninsula. It’s projected to open in spring.
We are delighted to support our local veterans and celebrate our ability to retain veterans in the region through gainful employment. In the coming months, we will remain steadfast and committed to garnering even greater outcomes, but all signs indicate that we’re off to a great start.
The Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center is at 861 Glenrock Road, Suite 220, Norfolk. For more information on services available through the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center, please visit hrvetswork.org.