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By DANNY HEARN, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce; Special to the Hickory Daily Record

The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation and NCWorks Career Center recently hosted a military convoy of dignitaries from across the Southeast who are involved with transitioning retiring military personnel back into the workforce.


The military envoy grew out of the successful Fort Bragg transition summit, which was attended by a partnership of the Chamber, EDC, Career Center, and military-friendly employers.  This event not only allowed us to recruit transitioning military members to our great area, but allowed us to make the initial connections with great partners to assist us with recruitment of our veterans to our area. Discussions that followed let to the first-ever military envoy.

The military envoy was held on Monday, June 27.  This event was held to showcase our area for regional and state veterans' employment representatives so they can see what a great area to work and live Catawba County is.  Our envoy met in the new Career Center, where they received an overview of our great area.  This covered quality of life, low cost of living, convenience, education, recreation and career opportunities.  They then toured the Manufacturing Solutions Center, a unique one of a kind resource that is used by manufacturers and startups nationwide. 

They then met with a diverse panel of military-friendly employers that represented a wide range of careers for the veterans and families.  These employers actively recruit, train and hire veterans, and recognize and value the transferable skills of the veteran.  The panel was impressed at the opportunities available for veterans and families.

The panel then took a tour of our great county and was amazed at the great variety of housing, culture and activities available to our residents.  We then went to a local restaurant/landmark, the Hickory Station, where we met with representatives from CVCC, where educational opportunities were discussed.

Feedback from the panel was that our area is a great place for veterans to live and work, and are in the process of expanding on our recruitment efforts in a new and great way.  Amy Taft, regional Marines for Life coordinator, and Matt Grob, regional veterans employment coordinator, are working with their teams to bring transitioning service members to Catawba County for tours.  Our state team has always had Catawba County top of mind, and the tour strengthened that partnership.  The military envoy was very successful, as our goal was to bring the veteran to us.  We plan on continuing and strengthening this partnership.

Danny Hearn is president of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce.


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