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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

MADD walk raises more than $26,000

The Central Virginia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted its annual Walk Like MADD fundraiser April 12 at Dorey Park in Varina. More than 20 teams of walkers raised money from individual donors by participating in the walk, and in total the event generated more than $26,000 in donations for the organization. > Read more.

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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