Workforce council working to help people getting laid off, furloughed due to coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 17:03:55-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Jeff Reynolds just got laid off on Thursday. He said he was part of a paint job at a hotel that got stopped.

He drove over to the Virginia Career Works Center in Norfolk, but the doors were closed due to the coronavirus.

He said it’s stressful, and he is not alone.

“I’m like a lot of people. I’m kind of scrambling,” said Reynolds.

“The website for the Virginia Employment Commission has been overwhelmed. They’re seeing thousands and thousands and thousands of people going in to the website,” Shawn Avery, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council CEO.

He said the retail and hospitality industries have been hit the hardest. News 3 spotted several people trying to get into the Virginia Career Works Center in Norfolk.

They have five locations, and they are all closed to prevent spreading the coronavirus. However, the phones are working, and Avery said there is a lot of information online.

“We’re waiting until this crisis passes and continuing to do everything online,” said Avery. “This is a resilient region who can bounce back from this, so I’m very encouraged.”

Click here to visit the Hampton Roads Workforce Council's website.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council’s COVID-19 Plan of Action:

  • All Virginia Career Works Centers in Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center, and the NextGen Pathways office are all CLOSED to the public to ensure social distancing considering the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. This closure is in effect until further notice.
  • A pandemic like COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has profound impacts on our workers and businesses, so it’s important that we come together to support those who may lose their jobs and employers whose businesses will be impacted.
  • We recognize that there is an increased need and urgency for employment services and encourage our customers to utilize online workforce resources.
  • The regional Virginia Career Works Centers are taking every possible measure to shift previous in-person services to remote services, and many resources can still be accessed over the phone, via email or online.
  • All in-person meetings or events, including training workshops and hiring events, are on hold until further notice. We are working toward offering workshops online.
  • Communications will continue to be maintained with our current and new customers using telephone, email and social media to the fullest extent possible.
  • We will post valuable information regarding our efforts to continue to deliver customer services, as well as, updates on our ongoing efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus to our website.
  • If you are a business owner or HR representative for an employer considering work stoppages, layoffs or furloughs, we encourage you to contact our Business Services team. We will get back to you within one (1) business day, or sooner, to discuss information and services that may assist impacted employees, including Unemployment Insurance, tax assistance, layoff aversion strategies, financial planning, remote access career services and more. Contact Steve Cook at for more information.
  • Resources for working parents including Hampton Roads’ child care providers and meal pick up sites for Public School children can be found on our website.
  • Unemployment information and workers’ resources from the Virginia Employment Commission can be found on our website.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.