Honor Our Veterans by Hiring Them
The nation will pause at 11:11 on 11/11 to honor the men and women who served in the United States military. Parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, the playing of taps are all traditional on Veterans Day. The Hampton Roads Chamber and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council urges the business community to go further, honor our veterans by hiring them.
The region is suffering from a debilitating workforce predicament. We don’t yet know the pandemic's effect on our labor shortage, but it will likely only worsen before it gets better. Additionally, a 2019 Workforce Analysis commissioned by the Hampton Road Community Foundation in partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, states “in the past five years, more than 30,000 new jobs have been added to the region, but the working-age population has only increased by 9,600 people." This report agrees with us that the ripest pool of talent lies with exiting military. "Regional leaders should watch the military population. A large portion of retiring and exiting military members have skill sets that are transferrable to jobs in the region's target industries, such as manufacturing, ship repair, ports.”
It goes deeper than numbers. You’ve built your business on your personal mission, vision, and values. You want to hire the best of the best to be cost-effective and not have to spend thousands of dollars re-hiring, and re-training. Veterans are seasoned, trained, emotionally intelligent adults who know how to get the job done. Most of us believe our business success begins with the code of ethics we learn as a young adult, often in our first job. Most of the military members exiting in our region joined right out of high school or college. Look at the doctrines they have learned to live by in their "first job."
Army Ranger Creed: Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight, and I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent, and then some.
Seal Team Ethos: I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
Sailor’s Creed: I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
These are the men and women you need on your team, especially as we face a period of rebuilding. They know how to follow your directives, show up to work on time, fulfill commitments, work remotely, and accomplish the mission. They will honor your customers with respect and dignity. They will not give up and go home.
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council, in partnership with the Hampton Roads Chamber and other supportive organizations, opened the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center on January 24, 2018, to help the military successfully transition into the civilian workforce. Since its opening, job seekers from the military community have secured meaningful employment in the region — with an average salary of $47,038.35. To date, the HRVEC has helped 3,743 veterans find jobs.
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council operates the center. CEO & President Shawn Avery is eager to do more. “As the regional convener of workforce development, it is incumbent upon us to build services and programs that target one of the largest communities of job seekers in Hampton Roads. We are proud to support our local veterans and service members. We look forward to increasing the availability of these resources with the opening of a Veterans Employment Center on the Peninsula."
Each year, roughly 13,000 military personnel leave their respective service branches and enter the private sector, offering businesses in the region an abundance of skilled, experienced, and highly disciplined workers.
Bryan Stephens, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, served a distinguished 28-year career in the U.S Army, retiring as a Colonel. Stephens leads the Chamber with the same values as his Army Ranger Team. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. These standards will be necessary to rebuild our economy post-pandemic.
This Veterans Day, we urge you to pause to recognize the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. And then truly honor our nation’s veterans by hiring them.
Bryan K. Stephens Shawn Avery
President & CEO President & CEO
Hampton Roads Chamber Hampton Roads Workforce Council