SMITHFIELD, VA. — Smithfield Foods Inc. recently announced a donation of $300,000 to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. The group plans to develop its new veterans employment center to provide service members, veterans and military spouses the resources and coaching needed to return to civilian life.

The employment center will offer several services to veterans including on-site hiring support, office hours with dedicated professionals for career consultation, and direct access to employment opportunities in the region – including open positions at Smithfield Foods.

“As an American food company, we believe in supporting the men and women who have served our country and are confident that this center will provide incredible opportunities for military veterans and their spouses,” said Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer at Smithfield Foods. “Beyond our funding, we look forward to partnering with the Center to share employment opportunities at Smithfield with veterans in our area to help them make the transition from military to civilian life.”

Smithfield said it currently employs 1,800 veterans across the company's US facilities.

 “We are so thankful to Smithfield Foods for this major grant,” said Shawn Avery, president and chief executive officer of Hampton Roads Workforce Council. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with a world-class, Virginia-based organization that maintains a deep understanding of the importance of supporting American veterans.”

In November, Smithfield began its Helping Our Heroes Initiative that works to prioritize veteran employment and career development; help power veteran-owned businesses; and strengthen the community and family support systems that veterans rely on every day.