Virginia Career Works Norfolk office reopening its doors to the public

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Career Works Office in Norfolk is reopening its doors to clients nearly a year after closing them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization, which helps people find job and career opportunities, is now taking in-person appointments after having to rely on virtual meetings and phone calls.

“This past year has been really interesting,” said Latonya English, who is the senior director of operations. “We had to learn to be innovative and creative to how we serve our customers. When you’re used to seeing people in person and you’re having to go virtual, there are some challenges.”

English said many of their clients did not expect to be put out of work permanently due to COVID-19 and others are looking to change careers.

She said there’s been a demand to open their doors back up because some job seekers face challenges that others don’t.

“We’ve seen a need with people really wanting to come in and see someone. Those job search services, assistance with resumes, interviews, working one-on-one with a developer and being able to come in and use a computer,” English explained. “We take for granted that everyone has a computer, but there’s a lot of people only being able to use their telephone. So, it’s not the same. By coming to the resource room, we have free resources like the fax, the copier. Those things are available at no cost to them.”

The resource room is open to the public and can be used without an appointment. To have an in-person interview, you must schedule an appointment.

English said they are also using extra space in their building to provide in-person job fairs for businesses.

Virginia Career Works is taking steps to make sure people stay safe, according to English.

Computers in the resource room are spaced out and plexiglass has been installed around each computer space. There is also sanitization stations around the office.

English said each space will be wiped down after each use and employees will wear their masks when not seated at their desks.

Clients will also be screened and have their temperatures checked before their appointments.

English said right now, the office is working with the Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Program to help those in need of employment find job opportunities.

They are also partnering with the Urban League of Hampton Roads for Bridge 757.

“We’re providing financial coaching services to our job seekers. That includes budget prep and counseling. We’re looking at credit repair, how to walk them through creating their first bank account, what does that look like, walk them through wrap around services that job seekers are able to receive with us,” she said.

English hopes that people in need will take advantage of their resources and that the opening of their doors will open more opportunites.

“I want people to feel encouraged. I want people to know there’s an organization willing and ready to help,” she said.

For more information, click here.

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