US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis meets with VAHCC President Michel Zajur, VAHCC Foundation Director Laura Sanchez del Solar in Richmond

Coverage from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“Labor secretary urges job training during visit to Richmond area”

(Article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, by John Reid Blackwell. View the full article on TimesDispatch.com here.) With the national unemployment rate still hovering above 8 percent, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis visited the Richmond area Tuesday to tout job-training and career coaching programs as tools for the unemployed.

Solis held a roundtable discussion on the economy with leaders of local nonprofits, schools, andgovernment agencies, and representatives of the Latino community.

The meeting was held at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, which offers the types of resources such as job training and career coaching that more job seekers should utilize, Solis said.

“We want to make it easier for people who are looking for work to find out where they can take the right path to lead them to a better career,” Solis said.

She said it is important for job seekers to visit one-stop employment assistant centers such as those in the Richmond area at 7333 Whitepine Road in Chesterfield County and at 6301 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond.

Solis said she chose to meet with members of the Latino community because the unemployment rate among Hispanics stands at 11 percent, much higher than the U.S. rate.

“We know there are a number of people who have been out of work in areas like construction,” she said. “Because it is a younger population, there is a great need for them to look at becoming better educated and better skilled.”

Among the programs she was touting was the Growing America Through Entrepreneurship project, or GATE, which is a Department of Labor-funded pilot program that aims to boost the economy by providing mentorship, education and training to new entrepreneurs.

In Virginia, the program is managed through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The grant for the program was renewed in June.

The GATE program “is for individuals who are dislocated or laid off from work, who want to be retrained and are looking into the possibility of owning their own business.” said Aida Pacheco, program coordinator in workforce development for the Virginia Community College System.

About The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The VAHCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to cross-cultural commerce and economic development.

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