Monday, July 15, 2024

Virginia Peninsula Chamber Hosting State of Military Breakfast

Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is hosting a State of the Military breakfast on May 31 at the James River Country Club (Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce)

HAMPTON ROADS — The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (VPC) is set to host its first-ever State of the Military breakfast on May 31 at the James River Country Club.

The State of the Military breakfast’s theme is Powering Peninsula Prosperity. Local military leaders will be in attendance from all Hampton Roads installations to discuss the local economy and how the military is tied within it.

“I started digging into what impact does the military have on the local economy. We have about 15,000 transitioning service members from Hampton Roads every year. About 5,000 of them stay and enter the workforce here,” Bob McKenna, VPC President, shared.

Each year, VPC hosts a State of the City for Newport News and Hampton and a State of the County for York County. Adding in the military community was something McKenna had on his mind for a long time.

“Our original intent was to let the business community know how important the military community is to everything that we do. Not just the social fabric, but also serious economic impact. When they are voting or talking to their representatives or exerting their influence in the state or at the federal level, one of the things that they should always have at the forefront of their mind is how we need these military bases to stay here, we need to make the military community feel welcome, we need to reach out and hire transitioning service members because they are people who bring soft skills and other skills to the table that will make great employees of our local businesses,” McKenna said.

Kathleen Jabs, the Military Affairs Committee chair, echoed McKenna’s statements.

“It’s a chance for people to advocate for and make people aware of public/private partnership opportunities. The bases, oftentimes, are behind fences, they have gates, but they rely on certain services from people outside those gates. With everything going on with the submarine industrial base, with institutions of higher education being part of that, and workforce development, all sort of coming to the fore here on the peninsula, it’s a really exciting time to be military and to have such talent right at our fingertips from all these veterans who want to enter the workforce. To be able to expose industries and companies to the military who are their neighbors often that they don’t know,” Jabs shared.

During the breakfast, installation commanders from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, U.S. Coast Guard Training Center at Yorktown, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair of Newport News, Department of Veteran’s Services and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance will address economic impacts that the military has on the region.

McKenna and the VPC community aim to bring the event to the region on a rotating basis.

“The people that serve in the armed forces, those are America’s sons and daughters and we owe a responsibility to tell their story and to expose people to them to be aware not just of the sacrifices but the services and the people and the missions that they are doing on behalf of the American taxpayers and people,” Jabs said. “I think the military welcomes this opportunity to share their stories and their people to build general awareness that America’s fighting force hopefully won’t be needed to be in harm’s way but it has to be ready to defend our country and our nation.”

The breakfast is open to the public and tickets are $45. Tickets can be purchased via the Chamber’s website.

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