Helping veterans bridge the gap from military service to local healthcare jobs

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A first-of-its-kind pilot program here in Virginia is bridging the gap between the battlefield and the health care field.

“It’s a pathway to careers in the high-demand healthcare field,” said Mark Whiting with the Military Medics and Corpsmen Program (MMAC). “It’s a pathway to credentialing because a lot of our medics and corpsmen when they leave the military, they lack the civilian credentials to go to work in the civilian healthcare field.”

As Lead Program Manager for MMAC, Whiting says in its first six months the program has helped 28 former military medics get hired into Virginia’s healthcare field.

U.S. Navy veteran James Tuppince is one of those hires.

“Because of this program, I’m able to not only practice but continue to practice at the capacity I was in the military,” said Tuppince.

Tuppince served in the Navy for six years.

Now he’s three months into his position at the Bon Secours Training Center medical practice  — and it’s helped him further his goal of practicing sports nutrition.

“I’m in school to be a dietitian and I’m here getting that hands on experience while I’m in school,” said Tuppince

Another six year U.S. Navy veteran also works at the Bon Secours practice.

“To be honest the program actually found me,” said Marcel Demming.

Demming served on the flight deck of the U.S.S Nimitz saying his new role is, “patient care in a more relaxed setting.”

“We had to be ready for any type of emergency situation, [the] flight deck is probably one of the most dangerous.”

The MMAC pilot program will last for two years with the hope that the General Assembly will continue its funding.

They recruit worldwide but are focusing strictly on Virginia — hoping it will improve the commonwealth and local healthcare field.

“We do we recruit across the world for people to come here to Virginia and be part of our economy and help alleviate the shortage of healthcare staff.,” said Whiting.

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