Smithfield Foods Inc. announced this week that it has donated $300,000 to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC), a non-profit organization that develops workforce policy and initiatives in Southeastern Virginia. Smithfield's grant will support the HRWC's new Veterans Employment Center in Newport News, which will provide transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses the resources and coaching needed to return to civilian life.
"We are so thankful to Smithfield Foods for this major grant. We appreciate the opportunity to work with a world-class, Virginia-based organization that maintains a deep understanding of the importance of supporting American veterans," said Hampton Roads Workforce Council chief executive officer and president Shawn Avery. "The advancement of this program will allow us to provide veterans and military spouses the resources needed to successfully transition to civilian life and achieve their career goals."
The Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center will offer comprehensive support for American service members as they seek out new civilian careers. The Center provides a unified community process that advances employment opportunities for current and former members of the military. Services afforded by Smithfield's contribution will include on-site hiring support, office hours with dedicated professionals for career consultation, and direct access to employment opportunities in the region – including open positions at Smithfield Foods.
"Honoring the service of Virginia's veterans is incredibly important, which is why I was thrilled to join Smithfield Foods and HRWC in the development of this Employment Center," said Bob McDonnell, former governor of Virginia. "As a veteran, I know the challenges these men and women can encounter when transitioning to civilian life. The resources provided by Smithfield's very generous donation will go a long way toward reducing those hurdles for thousands of veterans right here in Hampton Roads."
Smithfield is committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of American veterans and their families. The company's Helping Our Heroes initiative encompasses Smithfield's three veteran-related focus areas: prioritizing veteran employment and career development; helping power veteran-owned businesses; and strengthening the community and family support systems that veterans rely on every day.
"As an American food company, we believe in supporting the men and women who have served our country and are confident that this center will provide incredible opportunities for military veterans and their spouses," said Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer at Smithfield Foods. "Beyond our funding, we look forward to partnering with the Center to share employment opportunities at Smithfield with veterans in our area to help them make the transition from military to civilian life."
Today, the Smithfield Family includes more than 1,800 veterans across the company's U.S. facilities. Smithfield was recently recognized as a Best for Vets Employers 2020 by Military Times for the second consecutive year. The ranking acknowledges companies for their efforts to recruit and support service members, veterans and military families.