supply-chain companies and "evangelizing" the V3 effort to their network of
One of those is Dominion Resources Inc. "We're an active member of the V3 program," said Matt Kellam, the energy company's supervisor for strategic staffing and himself a Marine Corps veteran.
In 2012, the Richmond-based firm hired 126 veterans, Kellam said. So far this year, Dominion Resources has hired 39.
"We've seen our percentage of ... veteran hires increase from 10 or 11 percent in 2010 and 2011, to 21 percent in 2012," Kellam said. 2013 vet hirings are maintaining the same pace. "So 1 out of every 5 new hires is a vet. These programs really do work."
The company is a leader in seeking out veterans as employment candidates. In an effort spearheaded by Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion Resources' chairman, president and chief executive officer, in 2011 the company started a national pilot program called "Troops to Energy Jobs" to link job openings in the industry with troops leaving military service.
The positions most in demand in the energy industry -- such as line worker, technician, equipment operator and security official -- feature skills that "transition very nicely from the military," Kellam said.
As an economic investment initiative, V3's overarching goal is to bolster Virginia's workforce by making it the nation's most veteran-friendly state.
"We think that over the next two years, we're going to reach a tipping point making Virginia the best state to do business in," Joe Barto said. "We're going to give employers access to the best talent out there, which are these vets."
As Galanti pointed out, "Only 20 percent of our youth can qualify to get in the military. If they made it through a full hitch in the military, they're probably going to be good employees."
Mike Brandon, 29, of Mechanicsville spent six years in the Navy as an aviation electrician. Now he's putting that training to work with Entry Guard Systems, an access-control hardware and software company in Midlothian.
A V3-certified firm, Entry Guard "hired me to be a technician because of my (Navy) electrician background," Brandon said.
Frank Kollmansperger, the company's president, explained why he likes his military-veteran employees: "Pragmatically, they're mature, technically up to speed, ready to hit the ground running."
While working for Entry Guard, Brandon is also studying electrical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. "I hope we'll be able to continue the working relationship," Kollmansperger said.
To qualify for participation in Virginia Values Veterans, companies should have entry-level skills training so newly hired vets can be successful, a structured career progression showing the vets their future, and annual starting pay of at least $25,000 with full benefits.
These criteria do not disqualify employers from entering the V3 certification program, which is voluntary.
Bon Secours Virginia Health System is another company certified by Virginia Values Veterans.
"V3 has been extremely helpful to us," said William Barrett Jr., Bon Secours' vice president of military affairs. Bon Secours has four hospitals in the Richmond region and four in Hampton Roads. "We've hired 173 veterans. We're getting ready to hire five more June 1."
"The veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq are more qualified than anyone, and more dedicated and more loyal and more likely to do the job," the retired Army medical service officer said. "They've managed trauma before. ... They've done it on the battlefield."
The VCU Police Department is the only campus law enforcement agency in the state to be V3-certified, said Virginia Commonwealth University spokesman Michael Kelly.
"The skill set that we need here at the Police Department overlaps with military experience," Kelly said. Those skills include being disciplined, working through a chain of command, and staying calm in high-stress situations.
In September, the department committed to making veterans 20 percent of its new hires for the fiscal year ending June 30.
Of the 16 officer who completed VCU's police academy class in April, five -- 31 percent -- were veterans, Kelly said. And of the agency's 88 sworn personnel, 23 have served in the military.
"A lot of police departments, and particularly VCU's, value military service," said Michael Cooper of Henrico County, a Marine County veteran and one of the university's new police officers. "And they're looking for that in candidates."
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