Unemployed or furloughed because of the coronavirus? The workforce council wants to help

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton Roads Workforce Council helps people find jobs, but right now they are trying to help those who are unemployed or furloughed because of the coronavirus.

Shawn Avery, who is the president and CEO of the council, says they haven’t really seen a crisis like this since he’s been at the organization, which is more than five years.

Their doors closed on Tuesday and will remain so at least until the end of the month.

“Our centers are normally not closed unless it’s a snowstorm or hurricane, but we open quickly after. This is the longest we’ve been closed that I know about,” Avery said.

Although the public can’t enter the building, he says their employees are still working hard to help those who need them.

“We had to rethink how to do things. So, we’re doing everything online. We have staff in there now taking questions. We had to rethink how to do things but we’re not closed for business. Go to our website, call us, that’s the best way to get us. We’re here to help,” he said.

They’ve seen an uptick already with the number of people who need assistance.

“We’ll help them get a job. First, let’s help them get a paycheck coming to get their bills. We’re going to get them connected with unemployment then we’ll try to get them into some job opportunity,” Avery said.

Those that are seeing layoffs include small businesses, the retail business, and the service industry but Avery says some are still hiring like grocery stores, online services, delivery services, and VDOT.

He says its important for those looking for help to get in contact with them and for those looking to hire let them know what they need.