Virginia Career Works talks issues with job openings

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A problem that has persisted in the United States recently continues its grip on our area.

Employers have struggled to hire for open positions, in some cases, for months. But the problem may not be as simple as the belief that people just don’t want to work.

“As of right now we have roughly two jobs available for every one person who’s collecting unemployment,” said Tim Saunders, Virginia Career Works - Central Region business engagement and outreach coordinator.

The Water Dog and Lynchburg Grand Hotel told WDBJ7 Thursday they’re still looking for staff.

Saunders says people who might normally enter into industries like restaurants and hospitality could be finding luck elsewhere in other jobs. He says even if folks don’t have all of the qualifications for some positions, they could get them anyway.

“They’re taking into account the fact that some people are gonna come into this job maybe not fully qualified, but could be trained on the job and be a good candidate for the position,” said Saunders.

BWXT told WDBJ7 over email Thursday they have 120 positions open, fueled in part by work they’ve recently won. They say they’re working to ensure people can get the skills they need to move into positions with them.

“We have seen that while BWXT is growing, the talent pool for skilled trades has not kept up with that growth. In order to continue to hire the best talent, BWXT offers $30 per hour starting pay for entry-level machinists. We’ve partnered with Central Virginia and Danville community colleges to ensure people can develop the skills needed to be successful in these jobs,” they said.

Additionally, early retirements still have to be accounted for.

“And then it’s just a domino effect when those people early- and mid-career move up to fill the positions that the baby boomers are leaving, it’s creating more demand on the middle and lower end of the work force,” said Saunders.

Finally, according to government data, birth rates in the United States have decreased over the past couple decades, impacting the number of people in the work force.

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