From Richmond Times-Dispatch By
More than 2,000 employers have committed to helping service members and their families enter the workforce through the Virginia Values Veterans, or V3, program.
“There’s a serious talent war going on right now, and we think our program illustrates that veterans can be part of the solution,” said Daniel Gade, the program’s commissioner.
Gade began working as the head of V3 on Jan. 15 after being appointed to the position by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. As companies like Boeing and DroneUp come to Virginia, so do opportunities for veterans, he said.
“The governor is fully invested in our program, in the General Assembly, both Democrats and Republicans are fully invested in this program … everybody’s cheering us on, everybody wants veterans to succeed and that’s really warmed my heart,” said Gade.
V3 has helped more than 90,000 veterans and military families since its 2012 launch. The program and others like it are a crucial pipeline to getting military veterans into the civilian workforce. The typical veteran skill set — from problem-solving abilities to discipline — is seen as highly desirable.
The Virginia program started with 63 employers representing more than 50 companies at a conference. In the 10 years since they’ve had success with bringing both small and large employers into the ranks.
Just this year, they welcomed Walmart as a certified partner and held a celebratory welcome at the Glen Allen store at 11400 West Broad St.
“I think our biggest win this year has been getting Walmart,” said Jasmine Gore, V3’s program manager.
Gore has served V3 for seven years and is also a Hopewell City Council member. She said although recruiting large companies bolster’s the program’s mission, V3 has spent years recruiting all manner of business through word-of-mouth and innovative strategies.
“We’re being innovative with our programs that we offer … We’re looking at helping employers with workforce solutions by hiring veteran or military spouses but there are also other opportunities for current employees,” said Gore.
Among those opportunities include V3’s Hire Vets Now Fellowship, which provides job training and skills certifications for people about to leave military service, and allows them to experience different industries and career paths once they’ve ceased active duty.
V3 also offers programs designed to help reimagine workforce culture and increase employee retention and advancements, as well as provide options to acquire additional licenses and certifications.
Companies that take part are educated and trained on recruiting and retaining veterans.
Gore said V3 works to help the over 700,000 service members living in Virginia, and the organization is continually evaluating strategic plans and outreach to change the perception of what it means to bring a veteran into the workplace.
Various other businesses, including CarMax and Capital One, have internal veterans programs as well.
As V3 prepares for its annual celebration at 2022 Virginia Veterans & Military Affairs Conference on Sept. 14, Cade said he’s excited to share just how successful V3 has been this year.
“We are committed to helping veterans thrive and to get them into careers that are meaningful,” said Cade. “The way we help veterans thrive and to get them into careers that are meaningful … not just jobs but careers that make Virginia even stronger.”