VITAL Program Gives Wounded Warriors in Portsmouth New Career Options

Story Number: NNS090909-20Release Date: 9/9/2009 4:29:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) William Heimbuch, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Wounded Warriors recuperating at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) now have new career options if they need to transition out of the service. The Veterans' Individual Training Assistance Link, or VITAL, wants to be their safety net.

Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) created VITAL in response to the Wounded Warrior Act. The 2008 legislation provides wounded veterans with federal civil service jobs and educational advancement opportunities when they separate from the service.

CNIC's Chief Information Officer, Jeff Huskey, visited NMCP's Patriots' Inn last month to provide patients with information on civil service jobs specifically for wounded veterans who are preparing for life as a civilian.

The program prepares service members for jobs in CNIC fields including information assurance specialists, network operators, network engineers, software Engineers, system administrators and application testers.

VITAL actively seeks out service members who, since Sept. 11, 2001, were classified as disabled or severely disabled and also have 30 percent or greater Department of Veterans Affairs disability rating. The program also hires surviving spouses of service members who were killed since Sept. 11, 2001.

"The one thing about the VITAL program that the Marine Corps needs is coaches and mentors that walk the members through the process from getting your education to hiring. That program takes you from the ground all the way up," said Gunnery Sgt. Alec Welden, a member of NMCP's Wounded Warrior Battalion.

VITAL's jobs offer benefits including tuition assistance for continued education, 10 paid federal holidays, life and health insurance, and a 401K equivalent retirement plan.

In return, the program secures a more stable information technology workforce by getting employees who are in it for the long haul.

"If you are dedicated and willing to work hard, my organization will have a job for you," said Huskey.

For more information on VITAL or CNIC, visit the Web sites at and

For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit

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