Home to the Pentagon and the largest naval installation in the world, Virginia is one of the most populous states for veterans — more than 800,000 live here. Forbes and CNBC call Virginia one of the best states for business. A unique program is combining these two strengths — Virginia Values Veterans.
MWV is proud to be a Bronze-certified enterprise member of the V3 initiative, which aims to educate employers large and small about how to identify, recruit, train and retain veterans as a vital part of Virginia’s workforce. Nearly 500 veterans are currently employed across MWV in operations, engineering and research & development.
Allison Southall is a learning systems manager at MWV’s Covington, Va. carbon plant who served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq. “MWV is a great place to work for veterans transitioning from the military to the corporate sector,” said Southall. “Since my first interview, MWV has shown their appreciation for veterans. I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes my service and supports my growth.”
On Wednesday, June 12, John A. Luke, Jr., chairman and CEO of MWV, was joined by MWV veteran employees, to accept Bronze certification from the V3 at a summit at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. In accepting the award, Luke talked about how MWV is reviewing our recruitment and retention system to more proactively seek out veteran new hires and support their growth within the company.
See below for excerpts of his remarks.
MWV is honored to accept Bronze certification today from the Virginia Values Veterans Program. The V3 program represents the best of what our Commonwealth has to offer the men and women who have served our country, and MWV is privileged to be a part of this initiative.
By making a few simple changes to our recruitment, training and retention practices, we can open the window on a significant new pool of talent and, in the process, create jobs for veterans, grow our companies and improve Virginia’s economy. This public/private partnership is a win-win-win for veterans, for business and for Virginia.
General Colin Powell once said, “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”
As someone who has had the opportunity both to serve our country and build a career in business, I can attest that leadership is not necessarily something that can be simply learned in a management course or book — it’s gained through experience.
The selflessness and resolve that are second-nature to veterans are fundamental to inspiring and sustaining an organization’s trust and confidence in the mission, whether that organization is a battalion or a government agency or a corporation.
Veterans have special abilities and common traits, including discipline, maturity, adaptability and dedication. They operate with integrity and high ethical standards in all that they do. They put the mission first. They don’t leave a man behind. They are committed to a cause greater than themselves.
The average 24-year-old veteran has been extensively trained and led dozens of soldiers. These individuals have operated and maintained millions of dollars worth of equipment and more than likely been promoted three or four times --- all while living a core set of values in challenging situations that many of us cannot even imagine.
And yet today, there is a one in three chance that these veterans are unemployed.
So, that’s where we come in today, by talking about how Virginia’s business community can support our veterans who are returning from combat or reentering civilian life, and recruiting many more of them into the private sector workforce.
Today, [MWV has] nearly 500 veterans currently employed across our company in operations, systems, sourcing, engineering, as well in research and development. From a learning systems manager at our Covington carbon plant to an attorney in our corporate law department, I’m proud to say veterans contribute to the success of MWV every day.
I strongly encourage the business leaders here today to consider joining the V3 program. Veterans are an amazing, but underutilized pool of talent right here in Virginia. This program represents a unique opportunity to find, hire and retain these young men and women, growing our business and strengthening Virginia’s economy in the process.
I cannot think of a better way to welcome veterans home or celebrate their contributions than by involving them in making Virginia’s businesses even stronger and the Commonwealth an even better place to live and work.