By: Jarid Watson
Virginia has the fastest growing veteran population in the United States, as well as more female veterans and more veterans under the age of 25 than any other state. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently spoke with Connecting Vets about the responsibility of running a state government that has so many vets to look out for.
“I’ve got vets in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and out in the rural parts of my state. And what we’ve tried to do in Virginia is to do everything we can …. to make sure they stay in Virginia, [and provide] economic opportunities.”
One program the governor highlighted is called V3. V3, short for “Virginia Values Veterans,” aims to help employers understand, design, and implement nationally recognized best practices in recruiting, hiring, and retaining veterans.
“So under the V3, Virginia Values Veterans program, we have hired … just about to hit the 25,000 mark in Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
On the V3 website, McAuliffe asks Virginia businesses to make what he calls a “patriot pledge” to hire veterans.
Keeping with the theme of veteran employment, McAuliffe went on to tout a new program, the MMAC or Military Medic and Corpsman program. This program gives a clear path for former military medics and corpsmen to work in the civilian healthcare industry.
“They get full credit for the downrange service. I mean, we need healthcare workers. Every governor needs it, every state needs it. Why would we possibly make someone go spend two, three years when they’ve been doing it downrange and doing a very good job?”
What’s more, Virginia is the first state to implement a program like this.
“We just started the program, we’ve already hired 31 already, and we’re the first state to change it,” McAuliffe added.
Recognizing another first, McAuliffe said Virginia has become the first state in the nation to have been certified as having functionally ended veteran homelessness.
“We have found permanent housing, not temporary, permanent for 3,179 veterans.”
“What we now have in Virginia, you call 211 on your phone, immediately we’ll come get that vet, we’ll move him into permanent housing.”
The governor added that the work doesn’t stop after a homeless vet has a place to stay.
“It’s the whole enveloping process. We help you find a job, we do the training for you, we give you the educational opportunities.”
For what your state is doing to help veterans, click here.
Listen to the entire discussion with Virgina Governor Terry McAuliffe:
Caitlin M. Kenney contributed to this article.