Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia (GCCVA) welcomed Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to its Richmond Support Center on Tuesday, Aug. 22, where he hosted the Governor’s Re-entry Resource Fair. Individuals returning to society after incarceration attended job readiness seminars and met with more than 15 local and state agencies that provide services and support to help them overcome obstacles to employment.
Governor McAuliffe touted GCCVA as an important partner in his administration’s commitment to the re-entry population. “These individuals have paid their debt and they’re back in society,” he said. “My problem in Virginia is I have too many high paying jobs that I can’t fill, so we need to put their skills set together.”
The resource fair included workshops led by Goodwill instructors on how to overcome obstacles to employment, including conducting a job search, answering interview questions about a criminal record and preparing for the first day of work. Some of the agencies in attendance included the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Reynolds Community College, Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority, Job Corps, Richmond Adult Technical Center, Federal Bonding Program and the Virginia Department of Health.
“We take a holistic approach to individuals who are returning to society after prison because many of them need more than just a job. We let them know whatever happened in their past does not have to define their future,” said Hasan Zarif, GCCVA’s re-entry specialist.
Through GCCVA’s five community employment centers, job seekers can take part in re-entry programs and workshops that connect returning citizens with resources and support. In addition to employer networking opportunities and job fairs, workshops include the following topics:
- Preparing for employment
- Disclosing a criminal record
- Understanding the job application process
- Interviewing best practices
- Restoration of Civil Rights
- Bonding program
- Expungement process
“Governor McAuliffe hosting a coordinated event like this strengthens Goodwill’s work with the re-entry population,” said Shawn Smith, Goodwill’s director of workforce development. “It also creates a leadership opportunity for the governor to lead more organizations and businesses into accepting the re-entry population as valued members of the community.”
Goodwill’s community employment center calendars show all re-entry workshops scheduled throughout the month. For more information on Goodwill’s Re-Entry Program, call 804-745-6300.