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Resource Workforce Center opens in Henrico

(From left) Hanover County Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek, Fairfield District Supervisor Frank Thornton, Chesterfield County Supervisor James Holland and Resource Workforce Investment Board Chair Deborah Wickham cut a ribbon to officially open the new center.

Community leaders and elected officials from across the region gathered in eastern Henrico Sept. 24 to celebrate the opening of a new resource center for job-seekers that is the first of its kind in Central Virginia.

The Resource Workforce Center, located just off Nine Mile Road at 121 Cedar Fork Road, is the first such center inthe area to serve both adults and older youth.

Members of the federally funded Resource Workforce Investment Board, which works to increase private sector employment opportunities, joined in cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening and followed up with tours and information sessions led by center staff and community partners such as the Community College Workforce Alliance, Job Corps, Virginia Employment Commission, and Senior Connections.

"It's such a beautiful day," exulted James Holland of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, chairman of the resource consortium of local elected officials, as he prepared to cut the ribbon at the entrance to the center. "We're having class outside!"

In addition to serving as a one-stop job-shopping resource for the unemployed, disadvantaged adults and older youth, said Holland, the center will also assist the underemployed. "You may have a job," he noted. "But do you have a career?"

The center will help entrepreneurs as well, through a program known as resource business solutions that asks the leadership from various companies, "What do you need to expand?" Among the companies that have expressed interest in such assistance are a growing food supply company and a railroad company losing workers to retirement.

But "first and foremost," said Holland, "[the center] will offer those who come a friendly face."

Deborah Wickham, chairman of the Resource Workforce Investment Board, noted that a great deal of research has gone into locating centers where they can best serve the more than one million citizens in the area's member jurisdictions, which include the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan as well as the City of Richmond. One of three area workforce centers (the others are in Chesterfield County and South Richmond, with a fourth opening soon near downtown Richmond), the 20,000 square-foot center replaces one less than half its size on Williamsburg Road.

“Eastern Richmond and Henrico contain some of the highest concentrations of poverty in our region," Holland pointed out, "and so we are opening this center where it is most needed."

Representatives of various organizations began their tours in the reception area, which features kiosks for easy registration and space for one or more police officers on site. Among features of the dedicated space for youth are computer labs and stations for resume writing, as well as facilities housing the Resource Youth Network’s out-of-school program, the GOALS Institute.

The converted building, formerly a Verizon call center, also boasts a large conference room, a resource room that can be used to access the internet for job searches, and access to printers and faxes for submitting job applications and resumes. Center staff offer job seeker services such as resume reviews, skills assessment, career counseling, mock interviews, and for individuals who qualify, intensive training that may include free tuition to local educational institutions.

"It's all about connecting people with partnerships and working together," said Holland. "It will come to fruition."

Frank Thornton of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, whose Fairfield District includes the new center, described similar visions for the site as he prepared for the ribbon-cutting. "This will be a venue of collegiality," Thornton said. "Of service to our people."

"You've heard of no wine before its time?" he asked. "Our time has arrived."

Snipping the ribbon, Holland added emphasis with a flourish and triumphantly held the scissors aloft.

"It's open!" announced Holland. "Go forth and prosper!"

For details about the Resource Workforce Center, visit http://www.ResourceVA.com
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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Calendar

Fairmount United Methodist Church will host their annual Yard Sale and Baked Goods from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds support church missions. For details, call 737-5416. Full text

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