Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Woods addresses the BWI Partnership. (TBM/Mark Smith)

The impact of Maryland’s 14 military installations and institutions, its 74 labs and the needs of today’s veterans and their spouses were among the topics discussed by Anthony Woods, secretary of the Maryland Department of Veteran’s Affairs, during his recent address to the BWI Business Partnership.

During the Signature Breakfast, which was held at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport during the early days of what Gov. (and veteran U.S. Army Captain) Wes Moore has called “the year of military families,” Woods discussed the values of hiring veterans and what the business community can do to bolster its efforts.
He encouraged the hiring, valuing and retaining of veterans, “65%” of whom have degrees,” Woods said, adding, “Don’t just hire them. Empower them,” with mentoring programs, resource groups, and other resources.

He also discussed the importance of hiring spouses, which would address another longstanding need in that part of the market. Incorporating spouses into the regular job market “has not worked. They have different needs,” Woods said, “and need to heighten their participation” in the workforce “as well as address underemployment.” Not doing so “causes social problems.”

Woods expressed optimism about the potential for such programs as Hiring Our Heroes’ 4+1 Commitment military accelerator program, and his hope that the name of his department would be changed to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs & Military Families.

The next Partnership Signature Breakfast is set for Wednesday, March 6, at the BWI Marriott. The featured speaker will be Bob Jordan, President and CEO of Southwest Airlines.