If you or someone you know is currently out of work, we’ve conducted a Q&A with Virginia Career Works and compiled a list of resources to help you prepare for and navigate the job search process.
Q&A with Virginia Career Works
Thomas Gillette with Virginia Career Works answers some questions concerning unemployment and job seeking while in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Q: Who is eligible for your services/help?
A: We don’t turn people away. We may have to refer them to other people/agencies, but we try to answer people wherever they’re from.
Q :How do we access your services while your doors are closed?
A: The state website offers a lot: www.VAWC.virginia.gov
Here you can build a resume and access information on employers, look for job openings, etc.
Another site that’s helpful is www.goodwillvalleys.com
There are on-line classes and a lot of other resources listed that should be helpful.
The local Virginia Employment Commission is currently slammed with calls and emails from folks trying to access the Unemployment system, make changes in their claims, and a lot of other things.
Folks can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s something I can help with, I will. If I end up with too many requests, it might take a while to respond. A lot of us who are still working are working harder (and trying to work smarter). Appreciate patience.
Q: What makes you eligible for unemployment?
A: Did you work in the last 18 months? Very flexible. If in doubt, apply. You have nothing to lose but the time it takes you to apply.
Q: How do you apply for unemployment in Virginia?
A: The best way if you have a computer and internet access is at the website: www.vec.virginia.gov. The instructions are pretty clear on the first page.
Or folks can call:
For initial claims, call between 8:15am and 4:30pm, Monday – Friday, and between 9am and 1pm on Saturday (closed state holidays): 1-866-832-2363. This system has a considerable wait involved, but still the only choice for some people. Recommend they call at 8:15am.
There is a good video at www.Goodwillvalleys.com that describes the process. This can be very helpful to review for those who are anxious about applying.
A couple of things to know:
- During this crisis, you don’t have to have your PIN number before making your weekly calls. Since there is a delay in getting the PIN number mailed to an applicant, an applicant can start making their weekly calls starting the Sunday after their last day of work.
- You will get unemployment compensation for the week immediately following your last day of work (or reduction in hours.). In the past, there has been a “dead week” that you didn’t get compensation for that first week of unemployment.
- Once you make your weekly call, you should receive payment in about three business days.
- When applying, you can provide your checking account routing numbers, or you can request the state to provide you a debit card. Either works.
Q: Can you explain the automated reminder system?
A: That’s new. The VEC is now issuing automated reminders to claimants through text message and automated voice calling in regards to their claims and weekly filing. Very helpful. If you don’t make the weekly call to let them know you are “ready and available for work”, and have “no work available” for you, you receive no money for that week. If you are working part-time, you just report what you worked that week. That’s a partial unemployment claim. In either case, make the calls.
Q: Are any businesses hiring right now?
A: Actually, there are a lot of employers hiring right now. I have a list I can share that a team is working on.
Q: What are some other resources you’d recommend to job seekers?
A: There are a lot of resources out there. I recommend that job-seekers do some research. Think about what kind of training they might need to enhance their own career—or start a new one. Resources are available. For example, I understand that PVCC and other community colleges will be offering a 40-hour healthcare course (mostly online) that will prepare them to work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and some homecare agencies. There is great need for new people in these career positions.
State and Local Resources (assistance may be temporarily limited due to the COVID-19 crisis)
- Virginia Employment Commission (see How to Apply for Unemployment Video)
- Virginia Workforce Connection
- Albemarle Career Center
- Charlottesville Downtown Job Center
- Greene County Employment Services
- Louisa County Job Seeker Services
- Nelson County Career Resource Center
- Goodwill Industries of the Valleys Work and Training Services (see Virtual Services)