NORFOLK, Va. -- With nearly 30 million people in the United States now off the job due to the coronavirus pandemic, local unemployment offices are working overtime to provide assistance.
In Virginia, the state employment commission's Career Works program helps people navigate the process for not only filing a claim for unemployment insurance, but also find a new job or train for a new career.
The first step for people needing help is to call their local office. There are several in Hampton Roads; click this link to search for the one nearest you. Be sure to leave a message with a call back phone number to ensure prompt attention.
If you feel more comfortable using the online portal, the Virginia Employment Commission has created a special section on its website for COVID-19 related unemployment help.
Latonya English, the deputy director for Norfolk's Virginia Career Works office, tells News 3 she's taken many calls from recently laid-off people looking to change careers in the midst of the pandemic, looking for job fields that are more recession-proof, such as shipbuilding and medical fields.
While the process of losing work and finding a new job is one of the most stressful things a person can endure, English offers some reassurance.
"There are people who are here to help you. We have resources here to help you. If we don't have it, we're going to reach out to partners that do have it. Just know that you're not in this alone," she says.