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.
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HCPS wins national honor for overhaul of Code of Student Conduct, supports


Henrico County Public Schools recently was recognized by the National School Boards Association for a sweeping overhaul of the school division’s approach to student supports. HCPS was one of five large U.S. school systems recognized with a first-place honor in the 2017 Magna Awards, presented Saturday in Denver at the organization’s annual conference. The awards recognize school divisions and leaders “for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities,” according to the group.

The award recognizes Henrico Schools’ efforts of the past several years, from re-examining its policies to implementing more support systems. After a two-year conversation with the community through public hearings and other feedback, HCPS adopted a revised Code of Student Conduct for the 2015-16 school year. > Read more.

Environmentalists say budget hurts efforts to protect bay

Environmental groups are outraged at the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for Chesapeake Bay cleanup programs.

President Donald Trump’s budget plan, released last week, reduces the budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. That includes a $427 million in funding to address regional pollution, such as the Chesapeake Bay protection efforts. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which received $73 million from the federal government in 2016. > Read more.

Glen Allen ES principal receives REB Award


Melissa Halquist-Pruden, principal of Henrico County’s Glen Allen Elementary School, earned the 2016-17 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation presents the award to four principals annually – one each from the school systems of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond schools.

The award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. > Read more.

Grant to help Hermitage H.S. upgrade CTE program equipment


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Henrico County’s Hermitage H.S. will be among 16 high schools and technical centers statewide to receive a grant to upgrade equipment for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The program gives priority to challenged schools, Governor's STEM Academies and Governor's Health Science Academies. Each school or center will receive $37,500 to purchase new equipment and make other necessary improvements. At Hermitage, the funds will be used for precision machining equipment. > Read more.

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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Libbie Mill Library will host a 3D Printing Workshop for students in grades 5-12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Learn how to create your own 3D designs, download pre-made 3D models, and see an object being printed on the library’s Ultimaker2 3D printer. Bring a thumb-drive so you can save your design. Registration is required. For details, call 501-1940 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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