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Earle Williams' family lends support to NVTC veteran employment efforts

Earle C. Williams was a founding father of the government contracting industry. He built a billion dollar company. But he also was a staunch community supporter as a driving force behind the development of George Mason University and the Inova hospital system here in Northern Virginia as well as a significant number of other efforts.

And now, nearly seven months after his death at the age of 86, Williams, through his family, is lending his legacy to support the hiring of military veterans as part of the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Veteran Employment Initiative.

At Monday night’s NVTC Tech Celebration, Williams’ family announced a $10,000 donation to the Earle C. Williams Fund, which is part of the NVTC Foundation. The foundation supports various programs including support for the training and hiring of veterans. With their donation, NVTC has raised nearly $50,000 for the Williams fund.

The Veteran Employment Initiative also has been recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Veterans Services Program for its success. The agency runs a program called Virginia Values Veterans or V3.

NVTC member companies have hired 5,000 veterans since 2014. The remarkable thing is that only 5 percent of NVTC members are participating, and yet the 5,000 they’ve hired represent 35 percent of all veteran hires under the V3 program.

That factoid was shared Monday night as a way of encouraging more of NVTC’s 1,000 member companies to join.

NVTC’s Veteran Employment Initiative, which has been funded through about $250,000 in donations from member companies, offers various benefits and programs beyond getting vets hired. It is working to expedite the transition from military to civilian employment. It helps companies with recruitment, hiring and training. It is helping with internships, job fairs and training.

NVTC also is working with state and federal policymakers to promote education, training and employment for veterans. It also works with individual companies to help establish their own veteran programs inside their companies.

Some other figures shared at the Tech Celebration also bring home how important veteran issues are in Virginia. The state has the largest population of veterans, the largest population of women veterans and the largest veteran workforce.

Virginia has also been a leader in addressing veteran homeless and has claimed it has “functionally” ended veteran homelessness in the state. What that means is that Virginia has no homeless veterans except those who have been offered housing but didn’t want it. The state also must find a home for a veteran within 90 days and there must be more homes available than the number veterans who are homeless.

That’s an important caveat because it says we’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. NVTC’s veteran employment initiative and Virginia’s V3 program recognize that it is an ongoing challenge. And the generosity of the Williams family is a good example for all of us.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:49 PM

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