Norfolk organization honored for helping vets find work

The “Virginia Values Veterans” program highlights groups that assist vets with making the transition to post-military careers in the private sector.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center has been recognized with the Virginia Values Veterans “V3” award.

It’s in recognition for establishing a fellowship program for transitioning service members, in partnership with the Virginia Chamber Foundation and the Virginia  Department of Veterans Services.

“Well, being that I’m a veteran, the best thing about it is the reward of giving back, and helping fellow veterans, because the transition can be tough,” said Michael Hunter, HRVEC Veterans Services Coordinator.

Veterans’ unemployment, as of July, stood at 7.9% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was 11.7% in April, with more than one million vets without a job during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since its 2018 opening, HRVEC’s programs and services have reached more than 8,400 veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses. They’ve helped job seekers from the military community secure meaningful employment from companies at Boeing, Dollar Tree and IKEA.

The Center helps them hone their interview techniques, teaches them how to use social media for job searches, and helps them understand their VA benefits.

“Giving back to our community is just second nature,” said Amy Rodriguez, HRVEC Career Developer, who is also a military spouse. “And it’s pride for me. it’s the right thing to do. And there’s no better feeling in the world.”

Other Hampton Roads based organizations to receive “V3” recognition are Gryphon Technologies of Chesapeake and Top Guard Security of Hampton and Norfolk.

Led by the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and the Hampton Roads Chamber, HRVEC is a regional collaboration supported by business, education, workforce development, economic development, and locality partners.