Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was all smiles Monday as he stood on a stage inside Boeing’s new headquarters in Crystal City, where the state and the massive defense contractor announced the Boeing Center for Veteran Transition and Military Families, coming to Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus.
“This is hugely important for so many reasons,” Youngkin said.
Hundreds of thousands of active duty and retired veterans live throughout the commonwealth, and the governor said, “They make our communities better. They’re the fabric of values. They’re the heartbeat of our work force.”
Acknowledging how much of veterans’ lives have been given in service to the country, Youngkin declared, “It’s our turn to give it back.”
Virginia Tech President Tim Sands also acknowledged his school’s close ties with veterans, and called the new center a “huge deal” for the university.
When the program gets up and running in 2024, he said, “The initial focus will be on veterans transitioning and looking to upskill in technology fields, especially computer science and computer engineering related fields.
“They will have access to our programs, whether it be certificates or master’s degrees, and there will be project-based learning,” Sands added. “We’re looking forward to veterans not only being part of student cohorts, but actually bringing connections and their experience into the classroom.”
Youngkin said the Innovation Campus will soon funnel massive numbers of college graduates in various STEM fields into the job market, and will ultimately transform into “an innovation region — not just for the mid-Atlantic, not just for America, but for the world.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, said the presence of “military families” in the name is also extremely important.
“Talent is the most precious resource in the world, more precious than oil even at $5 a gallon,” said Kaine.
He said he had “one ask” for Boeing.
“Our military spouses sacrifice and our military spouses have to move here, there, adjust to a new place and figure out a new school system, and do it again and again and again, and sometimes in places they’ve never been. And they end up with all of those same flexibility and teamwork and success skills, but they often have a hard time connecting into the job market, because somebody looks and says, ‘Well, I’d like to hire you, but you’re probably going to move in two years and so I’ll hire someone else.’
“If I could just put an ask on the table to the Boeing family … think about our military spouses too,” Kaine said. “Because they bring so many of the same skills to the table, and they can benefit your company and benefit our society.”
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