NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- They're honorable, they're dedicated, and they're all about completing the mission. Military veterans make excellent candidates in the civilian workforce; the problem is, connecting the right vet with the right job.
Tidewater Community College and Virginia Natural Gas are joining forces to change that. The utility and TCC are launching the Veterans Training Program, an intense one week natural gas tutorial focused on gas pipeline operations and safety, the idea being to align veterans' job skills with the industry's needs.
Virginia Natural Gas plans to hire 40 new workers in the next year and a half ; the company hopes the majority of them emerge from this program.
"At a time when we're trying to find ways to attract new workers to our industry, why would we not start with the best trained work force in America?" said VNG President Jim Kibler.
The Department of Defense estimates that 230,000 to 245,000 enlisted personnel and officers will leave the active duty this year.
After serving their country, the transition back to civilian life isn't always easy for veterans, as Air Force vet Malcolm Bumbray knows all too well.
"Being in the military, you're regimented, so, coming to civilian life, you kind of need someone to help you through, to get you to the next point."
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is a fan of the program.
"Keeping our veterans here is critical," he said. "Giving them the skills to fill these much-needed jobs are what TCC and Virginia Natural Gas are doing. This is a great announcement for us."
The best part is, it's all free to vets, thanks to the G.I. Bill. The program begins next Monday. The next one week course will take place next February 26 through March 2, also at the TCC Virginia Beach campus.
This program is similar to another partnership TCC launched last year with Dominion Energy, to train and hire veterans in the solar power field.