“It’s a great thing we have here. It’s where all partners in the city are together in one place to serve veterans,” said Michael Hunter, Veterans Employment Center Coordinator. On Wednesday January 24th, the much anticipated Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center opened its doors to the public. Conveniently located just upstairs from Opportunity Inc.’s Workforce Development Board one-stop employment center at 861 Glenrock Rd. Ste. 220 in Norfolk. The Hampton Roads Chamber spearheaded this initiative and its opening represents the collaborative partnership between the Chamber and Opportunity Inc. (the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board), the Virginia Employment Commission, and Fleet and Family Support Centers Mid-Atlantic, amongst others.
Within its first hour, the center was already busy with service members working at computers on job applications and several transitioning service members talking with staff. The Veterans Employment Center will serve transitioning military and their families and aims to provide Veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their employment search.
Nancy Stephens, One-Stop Director, enthusiastically provided a tour of the facility. With state of the art computer work stations, a classroom for training, workshops and educational opportunities, as well as a common area for networking and individual offices for counseling. This green zone certified space is warm and inviting. “We are actively working with Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University’s military department support staff for cross skills education for our service members and transfer credit evaluations for college credit,” Stephens said. The Veterans Employment Center has partnered with the USO Pathfinder program and has a core group of volunteer support staff. “Every jurisdiction is involved, it’s a huge regional collaborative effort,” said Stephens.
The center will be hosting workshops designed to provide Veterans with extended employment assistance and Veteran-related services as they navigate the process of finding employment in the civilian workplace. The center is also staffed with a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist.
“This is a reality now,” Hunter said, “It’s more than something Hampton Roads just talked about doing, they actually did something.” This is a partnership that serves our Veterans and the Hampton Roads business community well. The Hampton Roads Chamber means business for veterans and as an inspiriting ignitor for the business community we recognize the collective impact of this center.