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Adkins: Jobs are available in area

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Jobs are available in Southside, despite what some people might think, the head of a regional organization told local business leaders Tuesday.

Kim Adkins, executive director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board (WIB), acknowledged economic problems in the region. But there were 127 regional jobs listed on her organization's Web site Monday, she said.

Speaking during a local Business Appreciation Luncheon, Adkins said two local firms plan to hire large numbers of workers in the near future.

One, Pigs-R-Us barbecue restaurant on Liberty Street in Martinsville, will open a second eatery soon near Piedmont Mall in Danville and plans to hire 35 to 40 people, Adkins said.

The other is Primland, which is building an upscale lodge atop a mountain in Meadows of Dan and plans to hire workers for the lodge, said Adkins. She did not give an exact number of jobs, but in March the company put the number at about 40.

Adkins mentioned a variety of fields that studies show have jobs in demand in Southside. They include architecture and engineering, health care support, computerization (jobs related to computers), building and grounds maintenance, administrative office, community and social services, education and food production.

She said doctors also are needed in the region.

"Because we're getting older, we need more doctors," she added. "We need more specialists" among the many branches of medicine.

The WIB serves Henry County-Martinsville, Pittsylvania County-Danville and Patrick County. It funds and oversees the area's five Workforce Career Centers and numerous employment services and training programs for employers, job-seekers and youth, its Web site shows.

Statistics show the region's population is declining and aging overall. The median age in Virginia is 36; in Southside, it is 42, Adkins said.

In addition to helping people find jobs, the WIB helps employers, such as by providing information on the labor market, human resources assistance to small businesses, assessments of skills businesses need for their employees to have and employee training, according to Adkins.

For instance, "we'll help pay for your employees to learn on that piece of equipment" they need to know how to use, she said.

Mark Heath, president and chief executive officer of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC), said the WIB is "a real asset to the community."�

The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the EDC co-sponsored the luncheon at Bassett Country Club.


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