Virtual career fair to help Roanoke Valley childcare providers hire new workers, meet needs of parents as students return to school

Back to School

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Career Works is hosting a virtual job fair Thursday and Friday to help childcare providers in the Roanoke area who are looking for more workers as students prepare to go back to school.

With students from both Roanoke City and Roanoke County set to kick off their virtual classes and hybrid schedules in the next two weeks, many parents who have to work or need extra resources are looking for childcare options, spurring many local childcare providers to seek out additional workers through this week’s “Virtual Academy Staff and Job Fair.”

While United Way of the Roanoke Valley is working to pair families with some of their childcare partners, those providers need to scale up their programs in order to accommodate more students.

Due to this demand, Virginia Career Works is hosting the Virtual Academy Staff and Job Fair from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, and Friday, Aug. 21, to help these childcare providers hire more employees. You can click here to register and attend.

“In response to the need to support students learning virtually as schools re-open in the next few weeks, programs across the Roanoke Valley are now actively hiring additional staff to support new and expanding academic support sites,” Roanoke city officials said in a statement released Wednesday, Aug. 19. “These jobs not only provide a valuable service to the community, they are a great opportunity for someone who loves children to supplement their income.”

The Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, and other programs are looking to hire at least 30 people, with some assistance from this virtual job fair. Many childcare providers offered their programs over the summer, but as the school year starts, they are looking to expand such programs.

According to Abby Hamilton — the president and CEO of United Way of the Roanoke Valley — it’s going to be challenging to handle the providers’ expansion plans quickly, but it’s important for safety. More specifically, the childcare programs will need more staff in order to keep the students in smaller groups and reduce the spread of the virus.

“I think primarily, both our school systems have established a set of minimum requirements for anybody that’s partnering with them to commit to take care of students during that core instructional time,” said Hamilton. “And number one on that list is making sure they meet a lot of the health and safety requirements, so you have to be in a group size that really meets whatever the VDH and CDC guidelines are.”

United Way says more than 200 families have already signed up searching for childcare options, so Roanoke Valley providers are actively working to accommodate this demand.

“People can log in online on Thursday and Friday,” Hamilton said. “It’s essentially like a job fair: there will be various booths representing the different organizations looking for workers, unit directors, site leaders, teachers that are going to be working with students at these various programs.”

The Virtual Academy Staff and Job Fair is sponsored by the City of Roanoke, Virginia Career Works, United Way of the Roanoke Valley, and the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, according to Roanoke city officials.

Families still interested in learning about childcare options in the Roanoke Valley area can sign up through United Way’s Smart 2 Start website.

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