Virginia program exceeds goal of placing 25,000 veterans in jobs

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — More veterans are getting hired in Virginia thanks to a joint commitment between a program and hundreds of companies.

It’s called the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program.

“The Virginia Values Veterans program offers free training to businesses in the Commonwealth to help them to hire, train and retain their veterans in the workforce,” said V3 program manager Michael Bluemling Jr.

In 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe challenged V3 to get 25,000 veterans hired by January 2018. The organization has already surpassed that with more than 26,000 hires.

“This is a proud milestone, but we will continue to use every hour of this administration to advance Virginia’s position as the best state in the nation for veterans and their families to live, work and thrive,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

Bluemling said the new goal is 30,000 hires by the end of the administration.

V3 has nearly 600 corporate and government partners committed to hiring veterans. Dominion Energy is one of its largest.

For the last two years, Jeremy Stout has worked in systems operations and control at Dominion Energy.

Previously, he was a Marine. He said the two jobs have parallels.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for me to show skill sets and experiences from my time active duty Marine Corps to what I’m doing now,” he said.

In his department alone, more than 30 percent of employees are veterans.

“A lot of them just got out of the military. They came from the Navy world or another service and they fit in seamlessly here,” said Stout. “We get them trained on our specifics and they’re a great addition to the team.”

Matt Kellam runs Dominion Energy’s military and recruitment program. He’s a veteran himself. He was in the Marine Corps from 1994 to 2000.

Kellam said veterans make the perfect fit because they already share the company’s values — safety, excellence, ethics and teamwork.

Dominion Energy has nearly 1,600 veterans on its force. Two-thirds are in Virginia.

“It makes me proud that we can give back to those veterans as well as keep them in the state and allow them to have a good living, provide for their families and do so in Virginia,” he said.

Bluemling, who was a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, said making the transition from the military can be tough.

“It’s difficult for your family because you don’t know where you’re going to fit in or where you’re going to have to relocate, how you’re going to get that next loaf of bread or pay your mortgage,” he said. “In the military, all those things are provided for you.”

He said having a supportive job and provide stability to those making the switch.

To learn more about the V3 Program, click here.

Click here to see the full list of partners hiring Virginia veterans.