Veterans Employment Center opens in Newport News

Author: Angelo VargasPublished: 4:26 PM EST November 16, 2021Updated: 4:46 PM EST November 16, 2021

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The resources to help military veterans find jobs are expanding in Hampton Roads.

In fact — they’ve doubled with the grand opening of a Veterans Employment Center in Newport News.

The newest Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center is located at 600 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Suite 210. 

“They deserve it. They deserve the best type of services that we can provide them,” said Army Veteran and Regional Program Manager for the Virginia Values Veterans Program, Mark Buehlman. 

Buehlman retired from the military in 2009 and wishes he had a center like this to help him find employment.

“What I went through was the normal transition program on the military installations, and that was it, there was nothing else and if there was something, I didn’t know about because it wasn’t translated that well,” said Buehlman. 

The location in Newport News is the second Hampton Roads Workforce Council Veterans Employment Center.

The first one is in Norfolk, and the council’s CEO Shawn Avery, said that location has been a huge success.

“The one on the other side of the water has helped thousands over the last three and a half years, and we see that this going to increase those numbers,” Avery said. 

The center offers services including resume development and career-building workshops for veterans and military spouses.

“We’ve got former veterans working here that can actually talk to the individuals about what skills they have and how it can connect to what employers are looking for,” Avery said. 

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council got a $300,000 grant from Smithfield Foods to operate the center.

“As a part of that, we committed to hire 4,000 military veterans by 2025. We also prioritize recruitment for military spouses as well as working with veteran-owned businesses,” said Smithfield Foods Charitable Initiatives Manager Jonathan Toms.

Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Kathleen Jabs added at the grand opening that one goal for the center is to have military service members stay and work in Hampton Roads.

“Every year about 20,000 members transition out of active duty service in the commonwealth; only about 10,000 stay here,” Jabs explained.

Buehlman said after his experience, he hopes veterans take his advice.

“For transitioning, service members especially use every veteran service that you can,” he said.