JFCOM assistance center opens

Published 8:21 pm Thursday, April 28, 2011

Several federal, state and city officials participated in the opening of the U.S. Joint Forces Command Workforce and Business Development Center Thursday. The center aims to provide career help and services to those displaced by the closing of JFCOM. From left, Councilman Robert Barclay, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, Rear Admiral Walter E. Carter Jr., Mayor Linda T. Johnson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Terrie Suit, Office of Economic Adjustment Director Patrick O’Brien and Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim.

The U.S. Joint Forces Command Workforce Transition and Business Development Center officially opened its doors Thursday to help workers displaced by the disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

The 2,800-square-foot center was launched in response to the closing of JFCOM, which is set for August.

Approximately 450 JFCOM workers from Suffolk will lose their jobs.

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In addition, numerous businesses that work with JFCOM, such as Capstone Corporation, have announced possible layoffs as a result of the closing.

Several state and city officials, including Mayor Linda T. Johnson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Terrie Suit and Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim, were on hand to mark the center’s opening.

Johnson said the ribbon cutting was different than most she attends because it isn’t marking economic growth in the city, but it isn’t any less important.

“We have equal pride in what we’re doing,” she said. “Today is not a sad day; today is a strong day.”

Rear Admiral Walter E. Carter Jr., commander of JFCOM Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, said the transition center is a critical part in helping workers and businesses.

“These are real people, and we need to take care of them,” he said.

The facility will serve as a one-stop shop for workers and businesses with services and resources to discover new opportunities.

Some of the services include work skills exploration, resume development, career counseling and interview workshops.

Representatives from Opportunity Inc., the Virginia Employment Commission, the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads and other regional organizations will provide on-site advice and services.

The center is the result of a partnership between the city of Suffolk, the Office of Economic Adjustment, the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and other state and regional organizations.

It was funded through a grant from the Department of Defense and the Office of Economic Adjustment.

Suit said her office is excited about being a part of the reestablishment of the workers in the region.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was not at the opening, expressed his thoughts in a news release Thursday.

“Though we had hoped to keep all of USJFCOM intact, the employees who are being affected … will have the benefit of a full-time transition center that will provide them with the tools necessary to transition to another job in the shortest amount of time possible.”

Office of Economic Adjustment director Patrick O’Brien said the facility is a good first step for the region, but Hampton Roads must come together as a community to ensure the success of the center.

“It’s all about helping you help yourselves,” he said.

The center, located at the Bridgeway Technology Center, 7025 Harbour View Blvd., Suite 120, will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on the center, visit www.jfcomtransition.com or call the workforce assistance hotline at 461-7537.