KRA Whitepine – One of Virginia’s Best Kept Secrets

As part her series, 30 Ways in 30 Days – Virginia’s Community Colleges, Amanda Christopher, Public Relations Coordinator, Virginia Community College System (VCCS), spent an entire day visiting KRA’s Whitepine One-Stop Career Center operation in Richmond, and on April 12, 2012, posted a blog on the VCCS website about her experience.  Christopher’s write-up is presented here to save our readers time in switching websites.

Resource Chesterfield, the name of the Virginia Workforce One-Stop located on Whitepine Road in Chesterfield near the airport, might be one of Virginia’s best kept secrets. Serving unemployed Adult and Dislocated Worker populations (referring to workers who have been laid off, many because their company closed), Resource Chesterfield offers a wide variety of resources to help adults obtain the skills, confidence, and competitive edge to attain and retain employment. Sherrilyn Hicks, [KRA] Operations Manager, walked us through a day in the life of this One-Stop*.

8:00 a.m. – Open for business, Dale Sykes, Volunteer and Participant begins welcoming and electronically registering new customers with the Virginia Workforce Connection.

8:15 a.m. – Customers move on to undergo a needs assessment and begin job searching on Resource Center computers.

9:00 a.m. – Job search workshop begins, focusing on resume building and interview preparation. The workshop ends with a Q&A session where participants can provide feedback and ideas for new workshops.

9:30 a.m. – Customers receive information about where to get the training they need to increase skills – Virginia Community College System and other approved training providers across the State. They are encouraged to find the best fit for them, visit campuses, and then decide. Many are interested in programs focused on pre-nursing, office assistance, restaurant management, hospitality and tourism, and automotive technology.

10:00 a.m. – Career planning agents work with customers who are changing career paths find job leads in the metro Richmond area.

10:30 a.m. – Interpreting services are provided as needed to customers when meeting with Career Agents. Department of Rehabilitative Services is on-site to help assist with disability services. Virginia Employment Commission is also on-site to help with unemployment registration and claims, and Adult Education is available to help with GED preparation.

11:00 a.m. –Customers may take a variety of job and skills assessment tests – includes Career Scope (interest inventory) and Career Readiness Certificate.

Noon – Calls are placed and emails sent to refer customers to Richmond’s Got Talent – an upcoming job fair.

1:00 p.m. – Customers participate in mock interviews.

1:30 p.m. – Workshops are offered that teach basic computer skills to customers.

2:00 p.m.Dress for Success meetings are held to provide advice to customers on appropriate attire for interviews.

3:00 p.m. – Meetings are held with customers to discuss supportive services – ex. Bus passes might be provided to job searchers using public transportation for interviews. Vouchers might be provided to purchase shoes and scrubs for a nursing student working on an internship.

4:00 p.m. – Customers stop in to use the Virginia Education Wizard tool, helping them identify a career path, find a college that is right for them, and get many other answers to questions about their future.

4:30 p.m. – Office closes for the day.

After hours – Support Group for Dislocated Workers. Customers can sit and express their emotions related to being laid off and learn coping skills from clinical psychologists.

Gary Fletcher, [KRA] Project Director at Resource, who oversees One-Stops in Chesterfield, Midlothian, and Sandston says, “One-Stop Centers economically improve lives, assist in finding jobs, provide the opportunity to elevate skills through training, help to determine personal interests, and then find good sustainable jobs with solid income.  People ask me all the time how people find us and the answer is always the same – word of mouth. Many people consider us Virginia’s best kept secret. You can go to any One-Stop in Virginia and find dedicated, passionate people, ready to help the community.”

*This is meant to provide only a sample of the services offered by One-Stops. Resource Chesterfield allows walk-ins on Mondays, Tuesday-Friday appointments only.