On June 29, leaders of the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI), including NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, VEI Chair Dave Lucien, and NVTC VEI Manager Rick Ferry, recognized a team of volunteers from The MITRE Corporation for their hard work and dedication at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the NVTC VETWORKING program. VETWORKING provides veterans and transitioning service members with opportunities for enrichment, engagement, networking, mentoring, professional skills development and career connections.
In 2013, MITRE played an important role in helping NVTC to launch the Veterans Employment Initiative, before leading the VETWORKING program launch in in May 2014. The unique program empowers unemployed and underemployed veterans seeking to advance their career prospects and better position themselves to be more competitive when seeking employment and pursuing careers. VETWORKING focuses on career connections through a year-round calendar of in-person meetings and events, supported by online interaction. It is aimed at employment, retention and long-term skills development.
|VETWORKING volunteers from The MITRE Corporation were recognized on June 29 by NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, center. To her left are MITRE CEO Al Grasso and Veterans Employment Initiative Chair Dave Lucien.|
During the recognition event, Kilberg thanked the MITRE volunteers and credited the success of the VETWORKING program to their passion and selfless service to America’s veterans. The MITRE volunteers, led by MITRE CEO Al Grasso, an NVTC Board member, made the program a reality through curriculum design, program management, project leadership, mentoring, resume reviews and mock interviews.
In addition to VETWORKING, MITRE and NVTC have engaged in a number of important endeavors in recent years. MITRE volunteers were essential to NVTC’s 2010-2011 pro bono task force that provided crucial recommendations for correcting a dysfunctional system at Arlington National Cemetery, and a second NVTC pro bono task force in 2014 to address serious patient healthcare scheduling problems at the Veterans Administration’s medical centers. Both Task Forces were initiated at the request of Virginia Senator Mark Warner.
To date, four cohorts of veterans have completed “Boot Camp” – the first phase of VETWORKING. A total of 45 veterans have gained new skills, developed their professional networks beyond what they could have previously imagined and explored new career fields. 80 percent of VETWORKING participants who completed a recent survey now are fully employed in new careers. In addition, one entrepreneur has launched a health information technology services business, and other participants have entered into education programs in order to enhance their skillsets.
Using the regional prevailing wage as a base, it is estimated that the VETWORKING graduates now contribute approximately $780,000 to the local economy and pay about $36,000 in taxes to the Commonwealth and local jurisdictions. In comparison, $3,500 was invested to support the cohort in addition to MITRE’s pro bono commitment of volunteer hours.
At the ceremony on June 29, the following key MITRE volunteers were honored for their service and leadership, presenting a token of recognition to the following:
NVTC thanks all of the MITRE volunteers whose work allows VETWORKING to grow and reach even more veterans. Recently, the Veterans Administration asked NVTC and MITRE to help homeless veterans through a new VETWORKING initiative, and the VA has been impressed with the results. During the second year of VETWORKING, NVTC looks forward to partnering with MITRE on additional projects to expand the scope of the program.