Supporting our nation’s veterans has always been a passion of the Coalition and we were fortunate to be able to share that passion yesterday at our event, Hiring Veterans: A Training Program for Employers. Thank you to Booz Allen Hamilton for hosting the veterans hiring training and allowing us to use the beautiful Newman Auditorium for this important event.
During breakfast, mid-morning, and again at the conclusion of the event, we had five non-profit organizations set up tables to exchange ideas and information with attendees regarding veteran hiring. Thank you to the following participating organizations: Operation Second Chance, National Industries for the Blind (NIB) Wounded Warrior Program, Hope for the Warriors, and Easter Seals.
An Air Force Honor Guard officially kicked off the morning with the presentation of colors, followed by opening remarks and a welcome from Ken Mills, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Our note speaker, Commissioner John Newby, Virginia Department of Veterans Services, traveled up from Richmond and delivered a thoughtful, passionate address on Virginia commitment to veterans and veterans hiring and support programs. Commissioner Newby talked about various resources in Virginia that companies could utilize to optimize the opportunities from hiring veterans. Commissioner Newby also stressed the critical importance of continued support for veterans once they are on the job.
Our first panel discussion of the morning, Programs Every Veterans Hiring Advocate Needs to Know, was presented by David Pennington (Navy Safe Harbor); John Chavis (US Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment); Jim Thur (Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve); and Cy Shearer (Wounded Warrior Mentor Program). Each shared valuable insight into their respective program and generated numerous questions from the audience on ways to engage these types of organizations for the betterment of their company, and also the lives of veterans and their caretakers. A highlight of this discussion was when Cory Gritter, Managing Partner of Gritter-Francona Inc. and wounded veteran who spent more than three years at Bethesda/Walter Reed, spoke about his personal experience with the Wounded Warrior Mentor Program and how it helped him form the successful veteran owned small business he runs today.
Our second panel, The Path to Developing a Successful Veterans Hiring Program, was comprised of companies who wanted to share their insights, best practices, and lessons learned in setting up their internal veteran hiring programs. Christine Rath (Booz Allen Hamilton), Brian Harris (L-3), Karen Stang (Northrop Grumman), and David Ralston (CGI) shared valuable thoughts on what it takes to create a successful program. With nearly 30 minutes of questions from the audience, it was clear their presentations were thought provoking and valuable for all attendees.
Thank you to all participants and attendees for making this such a successful, knowledge sharing event. We can all make a difference when it comes to supporting our nation’s veterans and the Coalition is pleased to continue its efforts in this very important area. For anyone who was unable to attend, here are the event materials with resources, contacts and best practices information on veterans hiring.