“The importance of what this council is doing can’t be overemphasized. Hampton Roads has the largest growing population of Veterans and the largest amount of defense spending, we currently serve over 93,000 active duty members. Those service members, veterans and their families are deserving of our full support and resources. Together, through each of our organizations, we can bring our support under a central access point and simply processes for veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses,” said Bryan K. Stephens President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber.
John Newby Commissioner of Veteran’s Services said, “Virginia has over 720,000 veterans, we are number eight in the nation and have the largest population growth of female veterans. We need to keep the men and women serving in Virginia continually serving in Virginia. We are all trying to go in the same direction and this council serves as an example of what all regions should do across the state. It starts here.” Commissioner Newby briefed the group on what Virginia is doing now, highlighting the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program, Veterans Transition Assistance Program and an ongoing partnership with the Virginia State Chamber Hire Vets Now program.
Hampton Roads Military Alliance Council (HRMAC) met on February 4th and brought over 40 industry specialists together. Ron Lewis, Retired Army General and Hampton Roads Chamber’s Vice Chair of Military Affairs said, “One in ten people in Virginia serve in the military. This region should be the place of choice to serve, transition and retire and this is the group that tackles those issues.” One goal of the council is to have a web based component up and running by the end of 2019 which will make the process of locating resources as simple and seamless as possible.
Hampton Roads Workforce Council President, Shawn Avery recapped the accomplishment of the Veterans Employment Center which just celebrated its one year anniversary. They provided services to over 1300 service members and their spouses and have launched the website Veterans Career Compass which takes the services provided at the employment center into the digital sphere. With 12,000-15,000 transitioning service members per year in Virginia the need for these services is great. HRWC is also working closely with the America Builds and Repairs Great Ships initiative to match these transitioning members to much needed jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry.
Virginia Beach based information technology company IntellecTechs has taken on the task of creating the one stop website which will house all the resources needed to connect transitioning service members to all the organizations within HRMAC. Michael Harris, IntellecTechs President briefed the council and demonstrated a prototype website.
The HRMAC will continue to meet on a quarterly basis continuing the work of bringing the organizations and people who can best serve the military, dependent and veteran population in Hampton Roads.