Training and opportunities for skilled workers in Hampton Roads

Posted at 1:40 PM, Jun 04, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - The process of searching for a new job can be overwhelming, especially when you don't know where to turn for help. Whitney Lester understand that situation It's his job to match local businesses with people looking for a job.

"For a lot of folks, it's that they didn't realize that what's on their resume may dovetail very nicely with an opportunity that exists out there and has for some time." Lester tells News 3 This Morning anchor Blaine Stewart. "This is just the first time they've picked their head up and said I need to look around and see what else is out there," he added.

Lester is Hampton Roads Workforce Council's Senior Director of Talent Development. He tells News 3 there are training opportunities for people who might be looking to transition into a new career.

"Hampton Roads has a wealth of companies who have stood up their own apprenticeship and on the job training programs," he says.

Many of the jobs featured in these programs are for skilled trades, which Lester says remain steady, even in the midst of a recession. (Click here for links to job and training opportunities.)

Lester adds, "Right now, we've got folks in ship repair and shipbuilding looking for the same kinds of folks as the offshore wind initiative ramps up in Hampton Roads. We look to be a global leader in offshore wind within the next few years."

Related: Virginia Career Works helping people out of work identify transferable skills

Another project looking for skilled labor is one the Hampton Roads area has anticipated for many years. "The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel expansion project is going to require similar skills," Lester adds.

With the right skills, Lester believes people can become a real commodity.

"Once they take their skill base and, with training, get up to date with skills that will make them truly marketable, they can start to command their own fate."

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