RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – More than 25 percent of residents in the city of Richmond live in poverty, according to the Mayor’s Office. In an effort to combat that trend, Mayor Dwight Jones and the Anti-Poverty Commission cut the ribbon on the Center for Workforce Innovation Tuesday.
Located on Marshall Street just across the street from Richmond City Hall, the center focuses on skills training for the unemployed or the underemployed. Part of the poverty issue, according to Mayor Jones, is connecting employers with skilled workers in the city, but that could present a challenge.
“There are more jobs in the city than we have trained people for them, so our responsibility is to do job-readiness training,” Mayor Jones said.
“Not just get a job, like I said, it’s more about a career. That’s what the whole program is set up for,” said Isaiah Murphy, an unemployed Richmonder who is apart of one of the first classes held at the center.
At the opening, officials said the main “chasm” that exists between job-seekers and job openings are skills and transportation gaps.
Mayor Jones said the Anti-Poverty Commission does not expect to change the poverty rate in the city overnight, but added the Center for Workforce Innovation shows steps are being taken.
“We’re going to move the needle. It’s going to be a slow process, but it’s an intentional process we’re taking head-on,” said Jones.