by Erin Miller
NORFOLK, Va. – The phones have been ringing off the hook in the offices of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
“Just in the last three days we’ve had close to 600 phone calls and last week we gave out 300 cards to individuals to go to our website to get services,” said Shawn Avery, the President & CEO of Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council has been working around the clock to answer the public’s biggest questions: Am I going to qualify for unemployment? Am I going to be able to talk to somebody about my unemployment? Are there even job opportunities available?
Avery said the organization has received a record number of calls and inquiries recently. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic not only put people out of work, but caused many people to lose hope.
“[Every week we’re seeing new people asking questions and needing help]. Different individuals are going to be impacted at different times through this crisis,” Avery said.
While many people have been furloughed or laid off, he said there are actually a lot of places hiring right now.
“Anything associated with Maritime in this region is going to be big. There’s steady workload going on so [a few examples are] shipbuilding, ship repair [or] anything associated with the warehouse and distribution,” Avery said. “Our food and all of the products are still flowing through our port – that’s a big area. We’ve also got healthcare, which is completely growing.”
THE HRWC is able to put you in contact with those employers.
Even though in-person meetings are available by appointment only, the workforce council is encouraging everyone to connect online. They said it is the safest, most efficient way to handle your questions.
“We’re doing a lot of virtual – we’re talking with individuals on zoom, we have virtual job fairs, virtual workshops.”
The biggest upcoming event is the statewide virtual hiring event taking place on Tuesday July 28 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Avery said 150 employers will be participating, looking to add to their staff.