City program trying to get people back to work

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's a tough economy out there and hard for many people to find steady employment. But Wednesday, the first class of the Richmond's "Workforce Pipeline Program" got a chance to meet with potential employers.

Casey Jacquemin has been looking for a job for months. For the last few weeks he's been in the city's Workforce Pipeline Program to get OSHA certified in the hopes it'll help him get a job. Right now, he says the job market is still brutal.

"I've been out for two months and I've been looking everywhere, Sears, everywhere, retail, construction, anything I could look for," he said. "Nothing seems to be hiring much."

The program helps people looking entry-level construction jobs or several other lines of work. The classes meet three days a week for three hours.

Mason Ayers works for a contracting company that recently has been hired to help build two new schools in Richmond. He's here looking to hire some people in the Workforce Pipeline Program.

"Everybody is being really optimistic," he said. "[They're] saying, 'hey look, we know it's a bad economy but we just want a shot'."

He says having the certification from the Workforce Pipeline Program makes these unemployed workers more likely to get hired.

"It makes them more attractive from the sense that they have something under their belt," Ayers said. "Obviously somebody has to start somewhere. Not everybody has experience."

For some workers in the program, they say they'll take anything.

"I'm willing to work for whatever," Jacquemin said. "I'm not a picky person."

The program will likely expand in the future to offer training in other fields like health care, biotech and commercial truck driving.

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