NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — About one in 12 Virginians is a veteran, then in Hampton Roads, that number jumps up even more.
For veterans like Sultan Camp, the switch from a life of service to life in the civilian workforce wasn’t easy.
“My transition actually took five years because we often have to figure out what we want to do and then a lot of us struggle because our net worth exists within the military,” said Camp, who is director of Veteran Centers with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
He says when you’ve spent your life in the military, your professional network just isn’t there.
But that’s where the new Veterans Employment Center in Newport News comes in. A ribbon cutting ceremony off Thimble Shoals Boulevard marked the grand opening.
“Over the next year, we’re hoping we can increase the number of individuals who are coming out of our military and staying here in Hampton Roads and really contributing to our community,” said President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council Shawn Avery.
The center is designed to help veterans and military spouses transition into the civilian workforce. Some of the services the center will provide are resume development, career workshops, and computer access. The space will also be a meeting place for job fairs, hiring events, and orientations.
It was made possible through a partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods funded the center with $300,000.
“As part of Smithfield’s Helping our Heroes Initiative we launched in November of 2020, Smithfield made a commitment to hire 4,000 veterans by 2025. So today’s partnership is a great way we’re making progress towards that objective,” said Charitable Initiatives Manager for Smithfield Foods Jonathan Toms.
The center is going to be open Monday through Friday. Any veteran is able to take advantage of the center. Click here for a link to the website.