Virginia Career Works offers free services to match prospective workers with employers
The job market that was pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic is now flickering with opportunity.
Employers currently list online about 9,000 open positions in Henrico County and 39,000 in the region. While the opportunities are encouraging, the number of jobless workers continues to exceed the openings. In Henrico alone, there was about one job listing for every 1.7 unemployed workers in July.
Given the competitive job market, Virginia Career Works-Capital Region is reminding residents of the array of free services available to help them find a job or improve their skills. With workforce centers locally in Henrico, Richmond and Chesterfield, the agency works to promote employment and economic vitality in the state.
Since the workforce centers reopened their doors in July, about 90% of their visitors have sought help with their unemployment claims, said Brian Davis, executive director of Virginia Career Works-Capital Region.
“We just want people to know we can help them with other services while they are in the center or online,” he said.
In addition to assisting with job searches, the agency offers assessments to help individuals identify jobs and careers that align with their skills and interests. It can direct them to training opportunities and cover costs so they can acquire skills that employers need. It also offers a variety of workshops – currently offered virtually – to help polish a résumé or sharpen interviewing skills.
To maximize the number of leads, Davis recommends job seekers create an account and upload their résumé to the Virginia Workforce Connection.
“The system will actually look for jobs for you,” he said.
Henrico’s unemployment rate stood at 8.6% in July. That is down from its peak of 11% in April but about three times what it was before the pandemic triggered an economic shutdown in March.
“There are signs that the unemployment rate is starting to come back down because the number of claims for unemployment benefits are coming back down,” Davis said.
But with so many still out of work, it is important that job candidates do everything they can to set themselves apart from other applicants.
“Our services and resources could help them get an edge in the competitive job market,” he said.
For more information on Virginia Career Works-Capital Region, go to vcwcapital.com. The Henrico workforce center is located at 121 Cedar Fork Road and can be reached at (804) 952-6116.