While over 14,000 individuals have utilized five Virginia Career Works centers in the Peninsula and Southside between 2018 and 2019, skilled industries like maritime and health care still need workers.
Steve Cook, vice president of workforce innovation for Hampton Roads Workforce Council, encouraged business leaders and city officials to reach out to his organization and its partners during his talk at the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority’s roundtable on Tuesday.
“With the low unemployment rate like it is, for us, it is trying to find the people to fill those shoes,” he said. “We’re struggling with that getting people coming through the door.”
Workforce development is different from attracting business clients, said Cook. As a partner of Virginia Career Works, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council assists businesses with recruitment, interviewing and training while helping workers connect with resources that boost their skills.
Cook, who also served as vice president of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance for 12 years, was invited to speak at the roundtable to inform business owners about what workforce development entails and where they can go to develop their own workforce.
Some of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council’s partners include the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, ECPI and the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center. Last year, 2,000 veterans used the center.
To make finding a job easier for veterans and employers, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and Virginia Career Works launched the Veterans Career Compass, a site where businesses can upload job postings and where military servicemen can translate their experiences into civilian resumes.
The program has been successful, with over 4,000 jobs listed on the website with 50 active companies seeking employees, Cook said.[Top stories] Poquoson High School forfeits football game after racist videos surface of students, school division says »
The idea behind the council’s collaboration with partners is to have everyone go to one place for business and employment needs. To do that, Cook needs engagement from businesses and economic development partners.
“We work together to make sure that we’re meeting all the needs of those businesses that are not only coming here but are here now.”
The Williamsburg EDA will host Southeastern Research Institute CEO John Martin as its speaker Oct. 8. There are spots open for future speakers. Recommendations can be made to Rick Overy at ROvery@williamsburgva.gov.
Madeline Monroe, firstname.lastname@example.org.