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Sen. Mark Warner to Conduct Military Service Roundtable at Old Dominion University's Veterans Business Outreach Center

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will hold at roundtable discussion at Old Dominion University Thursday, July 8, about providing more structured services and opportunities for military veterans to engage with local non-profit and community service groups.

Warner will be joined by active-duty and retired military officials, military families, leaders of regional community service groups and others at ODU's just-opened Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), one of 10 centers nationwide that offers entrepreneurial development services to military veterans and reservists.

The 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act ("AmeriCorps") included language suggested by Warner calling for a more sustained and structured effort to provide opportunities for returning veterans to continue their public service in their home communities.

"The unique skills and talents of our veterans can go a long way in finding solutions to big national challenges, and it is clear that a veteran's commitment to service does not necessarily end on the battlefield," Warner said. "Engaging our veterans in a more sustained and meaningful way can go a long way in helping our veterans transition back to civilian life, while also supporting the good work of our community service organizations."

The VBOC had its grand opening on campus June 21, an event attended by military and political dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye.

President John R. Broderick told the crowd in attendance that the VBOC builds on the strong partnership between the university and the military, a relationship that stretches all the way back to before World War II.

"We now have 24,000 students at ODU, and we estimate somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of them are in some way connected to the military," Broderick said. "We're very excited that Senator Warner recognizes the outstanding partnership we've developed with our military branches, and wants to conduct this event at our Veterans Business Outreach Center."

Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the only such center in Virginia, the VBOC will provide outreach, assessment, long- and short-term business training, counseling, electronic and online assistance, and other technical assistance to veterans and U.S. military reserve-component business owners and entrepreneurs.

Nye, the Virginia Beach Democrat, called the VBOC "another feather in ODU's cap." He said anyone growing up in Hampton Roads realizes the importance of the military to life in the region.

"Today's opening of this VBOC is an important day, because I think it represents the importance of outreach to the veterans community," Nye said at the grand opening.

Keynote speaker Kathleen Murray, a service-disabled veteran and founder of Norfolk's LAN Contracting, said the VBOC will mean many more veteran entrepreneurs will get a vital helping hand.

"As business owners, we need a place to turn when our businesses need a tuneup. We need information, and more importantly, we need support," Murray said.

The VBOC will be housed at Innovation Research Park @ ODU, Building II, which is also home to the ODU Business Gateway.

The ODU Business Gateway is a business-friendly entry point to the intellectual capital, innovative technologies and world-class infrastructure of the university. It offers services matched to market needs, including business and entrepreneurial consulting and services, advanced manufacturing and technology solutions, training and professional development, unencumbered business consulting, and veterans business outreach and procurement assistance. The result is a dedicated resource for companies, non-profits, government agencies and entrepreneurs to help solve business problems, expand capabilities and create new ventures.

This article was posted on: July 2, 2010

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Telephone: 757-683-3114
http://www.odu.edu/news

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.