New Workforce Programs Support Latino Communities in Richmond

The region’s Latino population is growing. Nearly one in five people in the area will be Latino by 2030, according to research by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. 

To prepare for the region’s changing demographics, building strong workforce programs for Latino and other immigrant populations is vital. 

Meeting people where they are

Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia and our partners are preparing to launch workforce development services for immigrants and refugees in the Richmond area, thanks to a multi-year grant from the Bob & Anna Lou Schaberg Fund at VNHC.

The collaboration aims to increase the ability for immigrants and refugees to obtain and retain employment and build career pathways. The partners focus on one key commitment: Meeting people where they are, rather than requiring people to go to a Goodwill Community Employment Center. We know from experience that lack of access to reliable transportation can often be a barrier to employment for many job seekers in our region.

Through the grant, Goodwill will bring its workforce development services to the Sacred Heart Center in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Chesterfield office. Both partners have deep experience working with Latino communities.  

“By leveraging resources and each organization’s unique skills in collaboration, we can make a bigger impact within our community,” said Sacred Heart Executive Director Tanya Gonzalez. “The programs promote self-reliance and workforce participation through an affirming model that works with each individual’s strengths.”

Services begin this summer

Goodwill and its partners are working together to launch the program this summer. The grant supports Goodwill’s efforts to hire bilingual staff, translate forms and documents and incorporate bilingual messaging throughout its operations, provide cultural competency training and promotions to raise awareness of the program.

“This is the first time Goodwill will offer co-located services in which we will bring multi-lingual workforce training programs directly to clients in their communities rather than having them visit our employment centers,” added Smith. “We’re able to leverage our partners’ unique skillsets and expertise to serve people who have multiple needs.”

A Goodwill bi-lingual Career advisor – a person who assists with career plans, resumes and job placement opportunities – will work part-time at nonprofit partner offices to assist Latino clients. After participants secure jobs, they also can access Goodwill’s Success Coaches, mentors who help individuals navigate potential stumbling blocks such as transportation, childcare and housing.

Goodwill will offer multiple sessions of its RISE (Resume, Interviews, Soft Skills and Empowerment) program at the Sacred Heart Center and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The five-hour workshops focus on skills important for career development and job searches. Digital and financial literacy classes will be offered as well. Workshop participants can take advantage of childcare and transportation services.

Program will build a stronger workforce and community

The organizations’ partnerships represent a strategic approach to strengthening the workforce pipeline for a large sector of the population. By leaning into each nonprofit’s expertise, Latino clients can access resources that are culturally relevant and appropriate. 

Questions regarding the program? Contact Santa Johnson at Goodwill.