Goodwill Co-Sponsors Youth Hiring Summit in Richmond

Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia co-sponsored the Capital Region Collaborative’s inclusive hiring and workforce development summit at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on Thursday, January 25.

The event, “Successful Workforce Hiring in the Richmond Region: Strategies for Employing Young Adults,” brought together representatives from businesses of all sizes across Central Virginia.

Those representatives were able to connect with organizations that provide workforce support and education, such as Goodwill, and discussed impact hiring and retention strategies for a section of the local population defined as “opportunity youth.”

“We want to pay special attention to those who are 16 to 24 years of age who are not in school or actively working,” said Angela Cabell, co-vice chair for the Capital Region Collaborative (CRC).

The CRC estimates that 43,000 jobs are available in the Richmond region, and more than 16,000 young adults are considered “opportunity youth.” The Weldon Cooper Center describes this population as racially diverse and is projected to be minority-majority, non-White by 20301. During that same period, the CRC projects that seven out of ten jobs in Richmond will require an industry-recognized certification or credential, rather than only a college degree.

“This summit started the process of engaging businesses and workforce leaders with a viable pool of job seekers,” said Amy Stewart, Goodwill’s business solutions manager and member of the CRC’s summit workforce preparation team.

“Opportunity youth are looking at rising college costs and a lack of job security after graduation. These non-traditional job candidates can help our region create more fair-chance employers, which can result in increased retention, better hiring policies and more innovative training and recruiting methods,” said Stewart.

Goodwill leaders also participated in sessions where employers learned the organization’s value as a workforce development resource. Goodwill offers resources specific to the youth population, including:

• Education for Employment – a partnership with local community colleges that provides career credentialing and workforce readiness training
• Goodpath – a career pathway for justice-involved youth, those aging out of the foster care system or youth with an immediate need to enter the workforce
• School to Work – a partnership with school districts for students to gain work experience before graduation
• Vocational Services – a program that helps youth with disabilities develop job skills needed for long-term employability

“Helping individuals reach their potential is the first step to drive our state’s economic engine forward and build thriving communities,” said John Dougherty, Goodwill’s vice president of community workforce.

Thanks to community support of Goodwill’s donated goods social enterprises service contracts and philanthropy, Goodwill provides employment and education programs for thousands of job seekers facing challenges to work, at no cost, across Central Virginia, the Peninsula and Hampton Roads. Goodwill delivers most services at five Community Employment Centers and in public schools.

“In 2017 we placed more than 2,000 job seekers with employers throughout our territory. The vast majority – 98 percent – are with employers other than Goodwill. We want employers and the community to know that Goodwill offers much more than great thrift stores, and their donations help make the entire community prosper,” said Dougherty.

Other co-sponsors of the summit include Communities at Work, Community College Workforce Alliance, the Capitol Region Workforce Development Board, Bridging Richmond, Dominion Energy and Points of Light.

Employers seeking to learn how they can hire opportunity youth and other newly prepared job seekers may contact Goodwill at 804-745-6300.

1 Source: Weldon Cooper Center