By Ashley W. Roberts
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District and John Milner Associates, Inc. hosted an open house at the Veterans Curation Program’s (VCP) Alexandria, Va. laboratory Tuesday.
“The open house allows for community members and businesses to come learn more about the work we do here,” said VCP Project Manager Kate McMahon. “It also provides networking opportunities for the veterans to meet local business leaders who want to hire more veterans.”
The VCP provides vocational rehabilitation and innovative training for recently separated veterans using archaeological collections administered by the Corps. Veterans in the program are trained in data entry, report writing, photography and scanning technologies. These efforts support the Corps’ mission of archiving, documenting and recording important archeological materials. As a result, veterans are able to learn important technical skills that can be transferred to potential permanent jobs with government and private employers.
“Through the program, we are able to provide veterans with an opportunity to receive competitive pay while learning new job skills through technical training,” said McMahon. “The overall goal is to help ease that transition from military to civilian life.”
Baltimore District Commander Col. Trey Jordan, who oversees the area of responsibility the Alexandria laboratory is located, attended the event and spoke with the current group of veterans working at the lab.
“Supporting our veterans is a critical Army mission,” said Jordan. “Providing an opportunity for these individuals to advance their technical skills is not only going to be valuable to them, but to our nation as well, as they set out and begin this next phase of their careers.”
Since October 2009, this program has employed 124 veterans and five active duty volunteers. Graduates of the program have been hired by federal agencies and private sector companies, gone on to continue their education, and started their own small businesses.
Since its opening in 2010, the Alexandria lab has employed 27 veterans, most of which have left the program and found positions elsewhere in the area. Currently, the Alexandria laboratory employs six U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine veterans.
The Alexandria laboratory is one of three VCP labs funded and operated by USACE’s St. Louis District. Other similar laboratories are located in Augusta, Ga. and St. Louis, Mo. The Alexandria laboratory is managed by John Milner Associates, Inc.