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Business incubator to host job-search program for Fauquier veterans

Thursday, Jul. 17 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
The Mason Enterprise Center in Warrenton will host a job-search program for military veterans, in a new push from Fauquier County's government to do right by the active and retired service members who form a significant portion of the population.

According to a release from Katie Heritage, deputy county administrator, the Fauquier County Departments of Economic Development and Human Resources have announced a County initiative to support veterans in their efforts to realize their full potential in the private sector. These two Fauquier County Departments will spearhead a county-wide effort to assist veterans in preparing for jobs, entrepreneurship and other opportunities that allow them to take advantage of their skills and experiences.

In one of the first such efforts, the County and George Mason University will offer the following service to area Veterans: a Veterans’ Representative from the Virginia Employment Commission in Charlottesville will be available at the Mason Enterprise Center-Fauquier in Warrenton on the third Thursday of every month to assist veterans in registering for the Virginia Workforce Connection (VWC) and to provide job search assistance and information on resources for veterans.

Likewise, MEC-Fauquier counselors will help veterans to identify and access resources in the federal, state, local and private sectors that can support their efforts to find jobs and/or start and grow businesses. Many federal and state programs offer employers special incentives for hiring veterans, and/or target contracts toward veteran-owned businesses. MEC counselors can help local veterans find and utilize such programs.

In addition, the County will be studying veteran-centric economic development programs being developed and implemented in other communities. A presentation later this month, will feature military veteran and experienced business owner, Emily McMahan, describing the Alexandria Veterans Program that she manages, including a business incubator for veteran-owned businesses. A similar program in Tyler, Texas is also being studied by County staff.

In Fauquier County, roughly 10 percent of the population is made up of retired military, and, when families are included, as much as one third of the county population has a strong military connection.

"Added to this, we are next door neighbors to Marine Corps Base Quantico, which plays a growing role in the regional economy, and cutbacks in the military have meant a growing influx of veterans to the commercial sector. Veterans and their families already have a substantial economic impact on Fauquier County and this could increase further," Heritage said.

Veterans from all periods of military service are eligible for job referral, job training and job placement assistance through the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), with an emphasis on those veterans who are disabled, minority, female, homeless, and/or culturally or economically disadvantaged.

Veterans may access these employment services through a statewide network of VEC Field Operations offices and the Veterans Services Staff - who are assigned to most of the VEC Workforce Centers across Virginia.

County Economic Development Director, Miles Friedman, feels that, “Focusing on the needs of veterans isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes good economic sense for Fauquier County.”

For further information, contact: Miles Friedman, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (540-422-8270); Janelle Downes, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (540-422-8300); or Renee Younes, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (540-216-7100).

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