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Virginia Career Works pushes to help job seekers, employers as unemployment rate continues to fall

There are 2,500 or more job openings right now, according to Virginia Career Works

The national unemployment rates continues to fall, but some parts of Central Virginia are still facing hardships.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that the national unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% in December 2021. That’s the lowest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some parts of Central Virginia are still facing hardships.

“There’s people that have maybe come back to work, but they’re underemployed, and they could be earning more wages and have a higher-skilled job,” said Traci Blido, executive director of the Virginia Career Works Central Region.

Virginia Career Works announced Monday that it’s reopening its Lynchburg work center to its pre-pandemic hours in order to help more people find jobs.

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

“[People are] getting back to work, but on the other hand, there’s more job openings. Anyone who needs a job should be able to find one right now,” said Blido.

Virginia Career Works is also helping employers fill positions, like the Bedford Regional Water Authority.

Megan Pittman, director of administration for Bedford Regional Water Authority, says they’ve seen staffing turnover in recent months due to competition.

“We’ve had people that have jumped ship, that are more in our entry-level, because of 50 cents somewhere else,” said Pittman.

They’re forced to remain competitive by offering higher salaries, benefits to entry-level positions and other compensation while promoting job security as one of their greatest assets.

“We provide an essential service to our community, and that’s never going to stop whether it’s a pandemic or any other type of condition,” said Pittman.

Virginia Career Works is offering services virtually too.

Career navigators can walk people through the process either in-person or online.

“There’s 2,500 or more job openings right now,” said Blido.

To learn more about Virginia Career Works, click here.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.