NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A new program is providing job training and development programs for veterans and their loved ones in Hampton Roads.

Operation Next will provide training in some of the most in-demand manufacturing and maritime industries locally and nationally.

First Lady Pam Northam gave remarks at the official kickoff for the program in Norfolk Tuesday, saying the program can provide great opportunities for active duty military spouses and veterans across the region.

“This really brings together so many of the things that I care about. And making sure we can make those connections between the tremendous job opportunities we have here in Hampton Roads and the skilled talent force that we have in our military families is just a win-win for all of us,” she said.

The push to bring the program comes from a number of local institutions including Hampton Roads Maritime Industrial Base and the Maritime Initiative through Old Dominion University.

As Dr. Morris Foster from Old Dominion University explains, it’s part of a long-term plan to make the 757 the leader in the blue economy.

“It’s not just innovation or technology, it’s the people who use the technology and who apply it,” he said. “It’s digital transformation and that’s what we’re all about.”

Attendees highlighted the opportunities Hampton Roads has for growth, with shipbuilding and offshore wind, and the vital role the veteran workforce can play in it.

“Our veteran employees are disciplined. They’re dedicated and demonstrate a very strong work ethic,” said VP of Human Resources and Administration Susan Jacobs from Newport News Shipbuilding. “They are leaders in our shipyard.”

Most importantly, they hope it’ll keep military families in Hampton Roads.

“The loss of community between active and veteran status, that often is really tough for people,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “And so Operation Next is not only about job training, but it keeps people connected to folks who’ve had experiences just like them.”

The program is already accepting people to get placed for training.

Find out more about the program and how to get enrolled here.