“This is a big day for us,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe during his remarks at the One Stop Workforce Center grand opening of the Regional Workforce System Friday, November 17. “My biggest challenge as Governor is filling in the jobs, and that’s what this one stop is all about.”
The expansion of the Regional Workforce System and addition of the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center opening in January, will make both civilian and veteran assistance more accessible. They will provide enhanced programs and services through the One Stop Shop. Shipbuilding, information technology, cyber security, advance manufacturing and construction are just a few of the programs and apprenticeships offered.
Opportunity Inc.’s President Shawn Avery anticipates great success with the expansion as they provided services to more than 12,000 individuals and 1,100 veterans last year. “It feels like we’re accomplishing what we set out to do,” Avery said. “I can only see the system running smoother and smoother as the years go on.” He thanked Bryan K. Stephens with the Hampton Roads Chamber and Craig Quigley with the Hampton Roads Military Facilities Alliance for their partnership with the expansion and continued dedication to economic and workforce development.
The overall message of the event focused on preparing America for in demand careers. Congressman Bobby Scott praised Opportunity Inc. for their collaboration efforts with businesses, schools and numerous organizations, saying “I want to thank Opportunity Inc. for working to ensure that Hampton Roads workforce has the access to critical job training opportunities and that employees have access to highly skilled workers. We can be assured that where there is a job there is a well-trained Virginian to fill that job.”
Mayor Kenneth Alexander of Norfolk credited the success of the commonwealth’s rising economy to Governor McAuliffe and his endless work to bringing new jobs to Virginia. “Since the start if his administration the number of jobs in Virginia has increased by 207,000. Virginia’s unemployment rate has declined from 5.4% in January 2014 to 3.6% currently, the lowest rate in more than 9 years.” This means Virginia has the second lowest unemployment rate of any major state in the United State.
The One Stop Workforce Center will serve nine regions and provide everything from income support to reemployment and training services. In the words of Governor McAuliffe, “This is going to change people lives.”