Local companies supporting the veteran workforce

Over the past decade, Virginia businesses have hired more than 67,000 veterans.

ROANOKE, Va. – For some veterans, making the transition from active duty to the civilian workforce can pose challenges, but numerous companies in Southwest Virginia are working to make the transition easier.

Carilion Clinic employs nearly 300 veterans.

This year, it was given the Virginia Values Veterans Award at the Virginia Veterans and Military Affairs Conference.

“Having that designation really just kind of showcases that we follow best practices for recruitment and retention for our veterans,” said Carilion Senior Recruitment Consultant Jason Bishop.

To help with that, Carilion has several programs to support its workforce and build community.

“It’s a group that lets our veteran population come together for comradery, support and lets them make connections with the veteran group within our organization. That’s been a really positive step in our organization,” said Bishop.

One of those veterans is Kenneth Simmons, who served our nation for seven years before transitioning into the private sector, a transition made easier by a Virginia program that Carilion takes part in.

It helps veterans reach their goal of working in the healthcare industry while also getting an education.

“The Military Medic and Corpsman Program here at Carilion was a great bridging gap to allow me to continue to go to school and work at the same time and be flexible,” said veteran Kenneth Simmons.

He works full-time, while also attending Radford University Carilion full-time, working toward a nursing degree.

“In the military spectrum, as a Navy Corpsman, there’s a whole lot you can do. Then, once you get out into the private sector, there’s not a lot that crosses over. Here, I can maintain those competencies and skillsets, which are going to carry me through nursing school until I get to practice,” said Simmons.

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