HAMPTON, Va. — On Thursday morning, more than 100 employers set up at the Hampton Roads Convention Center looking to hire. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council hosted its regional job fair.
Along with the fair, the group received thousands of dollars in federal funds to grow the job force in the region.
“We’re facing a tight labor market,” said Congressman Bobby Scott.
Rep. Scott said many industries are struggling to find skilled workers.
“And it has become a challenge for them to expand and grow,” he said.
Federal dollars he secured will be used to train workers and get more job positions filled. Thursday, he presented an $850,000 check to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council to expand their recruiting efforts, primarily in the maritime industry.
“It’s going to allow us to hire recruiters within the region that can go out into the community that can be into the neighborhoods that can talk to them about the opportunities available to them,” said Shawn Avery, the president of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
Avery said this funding will allow the workforce council to hire about 20 recruiters to serve in several communities across Hampton Roads.
“Doing job fairs, doing recruitment events, talking to community-based organizations," Avery said. "Getting out there at church events.”
Avery said right now, the workforce council is looking to partner with community-based organizations. He said one of the missing pieces within the workforce is the lack of awareness about what jobs are available. He hopes the money will bring those opportunities to job seekers.
“Right now, you can get a job in the ship repair industry that will lead to long-term careers of stability in those efforts," he said. "And there’s a lot of training dollars out there that can help individuals get those skills you need to be successful.”
Avery said these federal dollars will also be offset by an $11 million grant the workforce council just received to expand recruitment efforts.