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Virginia Career Works helping people out of work identify transferable skills

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Posted at 8:37 PM, Jun 03, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. – As News 3 continues to help people rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, we’re bringing you resources for people out of work.

Finding that next paycheck may mean reinventing yourself. News 3 this morning anchor Blaine Stewart spoke with the State Department about helping Virginians learn new skills that could pay off big.

Blaine spoke with LaTonya English, the manager of Virginia Career Works, Wednesday. You can read their conversation below:

English: I have received questions from people looking into truck driving, the skilled trades because the shipyard is still open. I need to move in another direction, and that's what I’m seeing.

Blaine: You mentioned people are looking to change careers, that’s one thing we are seeing more of. And those are skills folks may not have but they want to acquire.

English: Absolutely, absolutely. One of the amazing things is his program we have called “Women in Skilled Careers.” Out of eight ladies who participated in that program, all eight of them are working right now. And these are women coming from background where they would have been laid off. From some of the positions they had prior to getting their welding certification. And they’re on the job - all eight of them.

Blaine: So, there’s proof this works; you just have to know where you fit in.

English: You have to know where you fit in, and you have to do your research, and that’s part of where the Hampton Roads Workforce Council comes in. We really talk to customers, looking at the labor market information, looking at their background, making sure the skill sets align, because while it may be great it’s not for everyone, and that’s part of what we do also - is being realistic about what the job entails and what is required.

Blaine: It sounds like what you’re doing is helping people recognize the tools they already have they might translate to another career.

English: You hit the nail on the head. One of the things I hear that is so amazing is people will say, ‘Oh, I haven’t done that,’ and we can say, ‘Oh, yes you have.’ One of the things is they've done something for so long they do not recognize the skill set they have. And what we do here at the Hampton Roads Workforce Council… not just when we say “job seekers,” we’re talking about transitioning service members transitioning to civilian life; we’re talking about military spouses who may have just transitioned to this area, and once again, our job seekers in this pandemic who find themselves dislocated and they’ve done one thing and don’t realize some of those skills are transitionable into other careers.

Click here for more resources from Virginia Career Works.

Click here for more resources from The Rebound.