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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

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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