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NVTC Launches Veterans Employment Initiative

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, NVTC launched the new NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative at ICF International in Fairfax. During the event, which included Gov. Bob McDonnell and Sen. Mark Warner, NVTC leaders highlighted the many aspects of the Initiative designed to match veterans with jobs, internships, mentorships and certifications, while also providing support to member companies in their efforts to hire, train and retain qualified veteran employees.

Among the integral parts of the Initiative presented during the launch is the online community built by Monster.com and NVTC, which features a military skills translator for veterans to match their skills to jobs in the civilian environment, and provides a searchable database of jobs at NVTC member companies. Also highlighted in the program is the Initiative’s partnership with area academic institutions to help veterans transition out of the military by providing credit, certificates or advanced standing towards an associate’s degree based on their prior learning and training.

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Gov. Bob McDonnell, NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, and NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International at the Veterans Employment Initiative launch.

NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg and NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan, chairman and CEO of ICF International, welcomed attendees and provided background on the Initiative. Kesavan noted that NVTC’s effort is unique because it is being driven by the business community in conjunction with our region’s academic institutions and policymakers. “Through the combined power of the organizations involved in this Initiative, we are building a new ecosystem in Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth that will connect veterans to employment opportunities and companies with an unmatched talent pool, while providing both with tools to support their long-term success,” said Kesavan.

Gov. McDonnell emphasized that Virginia is the most veteran friendly state in the U.S., and spoke about the Commonwealth’s many efforts to support veteran hiring, including Virginia Values Veterans (V3), a program to help Virginia employers sharpen their focus on hiring, training and retaining veterans. McDonnell described the many benefits to hiring and retaining veterans as a part of Virginia’s workforce, and stressed the need to support and recruit military workers in Va. business.

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Gov. Bob McDonnell addresses the audience at the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative launch on August 20.

Sen. Warner also stressed the need to support military veterans: “we must turn words into action,” he said, stating that the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative is allowing Virginia to become active in veteran assistance. Veteran skills and experience in the military can translate to the civilian workforce, he said, and programs like the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative are essential in making the transition.

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Sen. Mark Warner speaks at the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative launch.

Initiative Co-Chair David Lucien of DCL Associates provided an overview of the effort, including how NVTC will assist NVTC member companies in establishing or expanding their own veteran programs. He also described how NVTC is collaborating with state and federal policymakers to expedite legislative and/or regulatory action that enhances companies' ability to hire and train veterans on any federal contract.

Initiative Co-Chair Steve Cooker of Monster Government Solutions demoed the online community built by Monster.com, which provides a searchable database of jobs at NVTC member companies, a military skills translator for veterans to match their skills to jobs in the civilian environment, and educational resources and tools, all designed to facilitate veterans’ transition into the civilian workforce.

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The audience listens intently at the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative launch.

Dr. Bob Templin, president of the Northern Virginia Community College, also spoke at the event in support of the Initiative, highlighting the effort NOVA and other area universities are making to streamline the transition. Academic institutions are working together to create pathways to civilian employment, he said, and members of the military may now start the process before returning to civilian life, seeking out programs, benefits and internships to begin their post-military careers while they are still in uniform.

Al Grasso, president and CEO of MITRE, and veteran David Neumer, also of MITRE, ended the launch by providing an employer ‘s insight into hiring veterans and a veteran’s view of the challenges involved in the transition and how companies can help. “Veterans will do what it takes to get a job done,” and in turn MITRE has participated in countless efforts in support of veterans, Grasso stated. Neumer told his success story, sharing that MITRE supported him by offering an internship post-military and a part-time remote position when he returned to his home in Tennessee.

For more information about the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative, visit nvtc.org/veterans.