As the national economy continues to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and customer demand steadily increases, businesses across many industries are still struggling to fill jobs with qualified candidates amid an ongoing labor shortage.
Business leaders across the state of Virginia met virtually to discuss new ways forward in the recent landscape at Virginia Ready’s 3rd Annual Business Partner Summit. Moderated by VA Ready Partnerships Manager Taylor Beck, the Summit hosted representatives from Capital One, Verisign, Genworth Financial, SAIC, and the Virginia Trucking Association (VTA), as well as Northern Virginia Community College, and Tidewater Community College, among many others.
VA Ready invited Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to join the summit as a guest speaker and share an overview of their mission and vision to inspire conversation and connection among all organizations present. After a warm introduction from Executive Director Natalie Foster, keynote speaker Marie Lynch, President and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, discussed her company’s mission to create economic mobility in some of Chicago’s more disinvested neighborhoods by matching unemployed and underemployed residents with employers in need of workers.
Marie described Skills for Chicagoland’s Future’s recent partnership with Discover Financial Services, and the jobs and opportunities it created for many residents of Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood by opening a new customer care call center there.
“It’s become really apparent that one of the biggest challenges that we have, and that many communities have around the country, is that the jobs are not located where the people are,” Marie said. By chiefly hiring residents of Chatham and the surrounding area, Discover’s workers were “now literally five or ten minutes from home.”
The second half of the summit focused on the Strategic Plan for VA Ready, and Natalie explained the following goals for the organization and its partners to scale up business in the future, including:
- Expanding credential programs and education partner options
- Providing a $1,000 credential achievement award incentive
- Establishing mentoring and apprenticeship/work and learn opportunities
- Holding quarterly Talent Task Force meetings
- Establishing career pathways and securing job placement of Scholars with partner organizations, with the goal of having 10,000 Virginians reskilled by 2025
There is no time like the present to chart a new course for your career and reskill for a new job you can be passionate about. VA Ready and their partners stand ready to invest in their Scholars’ training and education, and to give them the tools they will need to succeed in a demanding market.