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Goodwill, FELA and City of Norfolk Launch VALOR Financial Independence Program for Military Transitioning to Civilian Jobs



Goodwill, FELA and City of Norfolk Launch VALOR Financial Independence Program
for Military Transitioning to Civilian Jobs

Portfolio Recovery Associates Wants Area Employers to Hire More Veterans

NORFOLK, Va., Nov. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With more area military
personnel now considering a return to civilian life, Goodwill, Financial
Education & Literacy Advisers (FELA) and the City of Norfolk have formed a
coalition to launch VALOR for Hampton Roads
(http://www.valorusa.org/locations/hampton-roads).

VALOR logo

VALOR, or Veterans Assistance for Learning, Opportunity, and Readiness, is a
financial health assessment and training program coupled with job-readiness
services for area military that will help them focus on civilian careers to
best meet their personal and financial goals.

Military personnel who regularly access civilian job-readiness services from
Goodwill or the City of Norfolk will be encouraged to register for LifeCents,
FELA's unique, easy-to-use, interactive website designed to lead participants
toward increased financial health and wellness competencies.

Upon completing a LifeCents assessment, each VALOR participant will be
directed to work with Goodwill employment specialists at locations around
Hampton Roads who will develop individual career and financial plans. Goodwill
will facilitate connections to other community resources to support VALOR
participants in accomplishing their goals.

The City of Norfolk will feature a link to LifeCents on its web site and also
will introduce VALOR participants to more than 30 area employers who have
pledged to hire veterans as part of Virginia Values Veterans (V3) through
2014. In addition, The City of Norfolk and FELA will coordinate in measuring
and documenting the impact and outcomes of the VALOR initiatives.

Norfolk-based Portfolio Recovery Associates also plans to recruit VALOR
participants. PRA provided financial support to launch VALOR so that more area
employers would hire qualified veterans.

Executive Commentary

"Financial literacy is not only key to understanding debt and managing
expenses, it also can prepare job candidates for productive, long-term
careers. PRA wants to help sustain the vibrant military culture that is so
much a part of Hampton Roads with this extra support to veterans returning to
civilian life and area jobs," said Neal Stern, PRA executive vice president,
operations. PRA currently employs 75 veterans among its 1,429 employees in
Hampton Roads.

"By understanding the basics of money management, military personnel returning
to civilian jobs also will be better able to function well in society at a
personal, professional, business and community level," said Lynn Goodwin,
Goodwill's career development services operations manager of Hampton Roads.

"Through the V3 initiative, Hampton Roads employers are committed to hiring
and, more importantly, retaining those who have served," said John Andrews,
the special assistant to the Norfolk City Manager for veterans services and
military affairs. "Last year, the City of Norfolk hired more than 100
veterans. These men and women have demonstrated aptitude and abilities that
make them high-value employees."  

"Assessing the financial health of the military community in Hampton Roads is
a critical step toward understanding and improving the financial security of
each participant in the VALOR program. FELA plans to expand access to
LifeCents as more local VALOR partners sign-on to better address the
individual needs of veterans," said FELA chief executive officer and president
Blake Allison, a Virginia Beach native. Throughout 2014, FELA will provide
veterans with improved access to valuable financial education by enlisting
such VALOR partners as community organizations, academic institutions, and
banks or financial service providers already focused on supporting military
customers. 

About FELA's VALOR Program

VALOR, or Veterans Assistance for Learning, Opportunity, and Readiness, was
originally started in Washington, D.C. as a public-private partnership between
the District government and FELA. The program continues to expand to
additional communities throughout the country to serve the military community.
VALOR's mission is to help service members, veterans, and their families
achieve financial independence and long-term financial security. 

Financial Education & Literacy Advisers (FELA) is a leading, independent
provider of financial education and consumer engagement services.  FELA helps
its partners and clients evaluate, understand, and improve the financial
health and well-being of their employees, customers, students and community
residents.

About Goodwill

Goodwill has been serving individuals with barriers to employment for over 100
years. Utilizing a social enterprise model, Goodwill operates retail stores, a
donation collection system, and several Community Employment Centers
throughout Central Virginia and Hampton Roads. Goodwill's mission is helping
people help themselves through the power of work. Goodwill assists individuals
with obstacles to employment in achieving their highest degree of economic and
personal independence by providing them with the skills they need to succeed
in the workplace. In 2012, Goodwill placed 106 veterans into employment.

About PRA

Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. (Nasdaq:PRAA) is a financial and business
services company operating in the U.S. and the U.K. As a leader in the U.S.
debt buying industry, PRA returns capital to banks and other creditors that
helps expand financial services for consumers. PRA collaborates with its
customers to create affordable, realistic debt repayment plans. The company
also provides a broad range of fee-based services to local governments and law
enforcement, U.S. businesses, institutional investors, global hedge funds, and
U.K. banks and creditors.

PRA was recognized as one of Fortune's 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in 2013
and 2012. The company also has been named to the Top 25 of Forbes' Best Small
Companies in America for the past two years and has been annually ranked
on Forbes' list since 2007.

About Norfolk

Norfolk is Virginia's second-largest city with a population of 245,803, a
number that includes over 28,000 veterans. The city has long been a strategic
military and transportation point and is home to world's largest naval base,
Naval Station Norfolk. Norfolk was selected as an All-America City by the
National Civic League in 2013, in part due to its efforts to support veterans
and their families. The All-America City award was founded in 1949 and is
America's oldest and most prestigious community recognition award.

CONTACT: News Media Contacts:
        
         Blake Allison
         Chief Executive Officer and President
         FELA
         202.360-2378
         Blake@myFELA.com
        
         Danielle Cronin
         Community Relations Manager
         Goodwill Serving Hampton Roads and Central Virginia
         757-268-7463
         danielle.cronin@goodwillvirginia.org
        
         Lori Crouch
         Public Relations Manager
         City of Norfolk
         757-664-4067
         Lori.Crouch@Norfolk.gov
        
         Rick Goulart
         Vice President, Corporate Communications
         Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc.
         757-961-3525
         RickGoulart@PortfolioRecovery.com

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