Summit aims to assist veterans transition into civilian workforce

Navy retiree summit links vets and employers

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- At least 200-thousand military members transition out of active service every year. But for many vets, making the move to the civilian workforce can be challenging.

The U.S. military is arguably the best-trained workforce in the world, and personnel who leave military service have skills that  are truly valuable and in high demand, and should translate to virtually any career.

But, describing those skills to a prospective civilian employer can be difficult, said Navy First Class Petty Officer Star Ward, who has served for 19 years, but who is getting out next year.

"It's nerve racking, I can tell you that," she said. "I've been in the Navy since I was 18. So I've been doing this since high school and now to go out into the real world, it's kind of frightening."

Doug Morfeld is Work and Family Life Coordinator for Commander Navy Mid-Atlantic Region. "I mean, it's a hard transition," he said. "You're dealing with a career that you had in the Navy or Marine Corps, and then you're looking for a job and transitioning and you don' speak the lingo."

Joseph Arties spent fifteen years in the Marines, and ten in the National Guard.  He said: "the hardest part I find, is you being part of something and now you have to transition to something new and find your footing."

And hopefully, that's where the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Retiree summit and Career Fair comes in.

It was 55 employers, and 600 to 800 potential employees, linked up, Friday, at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek gym. For companies like ADP, it's a perfect fit.

"I was hired by the CEO to bring veterans into this company because we understand, not only is hiring  veterans the right thing to do, it's the right thing for our company, because we know veterans make our company better," said  Tom Hiebert, ADP Senior Director.

Little Creek's Executive Officer, Captain Capt. Quinn Skinner, said hosting such a gathering makes good sense.

"It's a great privilege of ours, as people finish up their time, whether it's short  term or long term in the Navy or he Army, to give them more opportunities and get them some exposure to employers which they might not otherwise have," he said.

 According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans is 4.3 percent as of September.


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