Business Services


On July 1, 2010 the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce partnered with Pittsylvania County Community Action through the Workforce Investment Board with an understanding that the employers were to be our number one priority. In order to accomplish this, the Business Services Manager position was created. This position was to partner with the Virginia Workforce Center, as well as other local partners, and to identify employer needs. Once these needs were established, the Business Services Manager would then act as a conduit between the employer and the partners by streamlining the process of connecting the employers and the partners to satisfy the need in an extremely efficient manner.

These needs varied by industry sector and size ranging from assistance in developing new programs, wage negotiations, new business start-ups, layoffs and plant closings, training needs, data retrieval and employment issues.




    Worked with 115 employers in the Martinsville Henry County area to determine and satisfy their hiring needs and requirements.

    Exceeded the goal of meeting with 85 employers by 35%.

    Transitioned the duties of the Job Developer into the role of Business Services Manager. In an effort to better service the employment needs of the local employers, the position of Job Developer for the Martinsville Henry County area was transitioned into the role of the Business Service Manager in April 2011.    As a result of the first 3 months 20 interns were placed with 9 different employers. There was also a direct hire with one employer that chose not to work with the internship program.

    Local employer trains new workers from the ground up

    (excerpt from Martinsville Bulletin)

    By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Rucker started with RJE in sales in February 2010 but saw a need for engineering services and took over those operations. He opened the local office at 10 E. Church St. in the Jefferson Plaza in April, staffed by Rucker, his wife and a friend of theirs. The business "exploded," he said, and he needed help. "I could find engineers who know how to do field work, but to get it (information) into the systems of the phone company, I needed to take people and train them on a one-on-one kind of thing."

    Recruiting and training while also running the business was "not very cost effective," Rucker said, so he got in touch with Linda Plaster of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, who specializes in helping existing businesses succeed. He also worked with the Virginia Workforce Network and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) offices. Rucker told them he was looking for applicants with AutoCAD (computer-aided drafting) experience, basic math and computer skills, positive attitudes, good communication skills, and a drive to succeed.

    Plaster and the others located candidates and did prescreenings and interviews before bringing 12 candidates to Rucker. As his business grows, Rucker said he is working with Plaster to find four more trainees.

    Internship Sectors

    Warehousing 2
    Administrative 2
    Service 8
    Manufacturing 10

    Arranged and participated in a community wide job fair that brought together 27 employers and more than 1,000 job offerings including full time, part time and seasonal positions.

    Arranged and participated in targeted recruitments for five employers including 2 day targeted recruitment for ICF International with over 2,000 in attendance.

    Assisted with the development of a virtual job fair site that offered 40 high skilled positions from 5 local employers.
    Assisted Danville/Pittsylvania County with community wide job fair, targeted recruitments and resource fair.

    Represented ICF International at a National College job fair prior to their relocation to the Martinsville Henry County area.

    Confirmed with employers that 196 job seekers received employment as a result of the job fairs.

    Collaborated with local partners to plan a Community Resource Fair in Martinsville Henry County. There were 5 workshops presented covering topics such as what the employer is looking for, where to find hidden job opportunities, how to live on a budget and social media.

    Job Fairs and Targeted Recruitments

    Name Employees Attendees
    Monogram Foods, MasterBrand Cabinets, CW Wall 3 155
    StarTek 1 20
    ICF International (2 days) 1 2000
    MHC Community Wide Job Fair 27 900
    Virtual Job Fair 5 162
    DPC Community Wide Job Fair 24 1150
    My Twinn (Volunteer) 1 303


    Worked with local partners, especially Workforce Development at PHCC, to indentify various assessment programs and how they worked.

    Worked with employers to identify the best assessment programs for them and helped develop their assessment programs.

    Identified training needs of employers and either connected them with local resources to meet those needs, or began working with partners to develop programs to meet those needs.

    Coordinated Workshops

    Name Employees Attendees
    Exceptional Customer Service 56 171
    Service Recovery 51 200
    Turning Talent Into Performance 45 80
    Resume Writing 1 40
    Interviewing Skills 1 15
    Leadership Development 20 33
    Supervisor Training 11 38

    Arranged round table meetings in the areas of manufacturing, retail and customer service, (the customer service round table was delayed due to a massive layoff in that market).

    Participated in large Virginia Chamber of Commerce health care round table event with over 30 major health care providers there.


    Partnered with EDC on the 2010 Wage and Benefit Survey. There were 53 local employers that participated in this survey with a combined total employment of 5,656 employees. Of these, 92% were full time employees.

    Attended Employer Advisory Committee meetings to gain information regarding opportunities, incentives and related data that could be used in employer meetings and data retrieval.

    Provided various data to local employers in order to assist with determining yearly wage rates and help with salary negotiations.


    Worked with PHCC Workforce Development group to develop workshops on interview and resume techniques. Also presented these workshops to a local company facing massive layoffs.

    Presented the WIA Internship Program during Rapid Response workshops for a local company going through massive layoffs.

    Arranged a community wide job fair to coordinate with a massive layoff in the furniture area.

    Worked with a local branch office that was closing to assist in outplacement and to ensure they were aware of various programs available to them.


    Assisted Dan River Region Collaborative with Talent Development.

    Worked directly with DRS on various employment needs.

    Collaborated with VEC, EDC, PHCC and Tourism to bring free workshops to area employers and the community.

    Served on the District Career and Technical Education Advisory Council for Henry County Schools. The focus of this council is to determine the best way to allocate Perkins Grant funds to better prepare students for real world workforce situations.

    Collaborated with several workforce partners to develop a weekly job club event.    This weekly event started strong and remains strong with approximately 30 – 35 people in attendance each week. We have also gained the employers buy in and had several attend as guest speakers.


    Organized new Manufacturing Network group in order to pull together local manufacturers and give them the opportunity to voice their needs and concerns, and work to address the concerns and develop programs to fill the needs.

    Advocated at the local, state and federal level on the importance of Leadership Development in our community.

    Discussed workforce development, with state legislators.

    Attended the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit.

    Participated in a round table discussion with Governor Bob McDonnell on workforce issues.

    Represented the Martinsville Henry County area at Chamber Day at the Capital

    Made multiple trips to Richmond, frequent contact with legislators and legislative events.

    Represented the MHC Chamber of Commerce at a workshop help by Congressman Robert Hurt on Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance which discussed ways to avoid foreclosure and foreclosure scams.

    Participated in Fast Track – the region's premier trade show with more than 6,000 in attendance.

    Attended the 2 day Southern Growth Policies Board Conference in Roanoke and had the opportunity to interview with WSET TV ABC 13 News.

    Four Southern Governors Gather in Roanoke

    Reporter: David Tate - June 12, 2011

    Roanoke, VA - The Hotel Roanoke is hosting this year's Southern Growth Policies Board Conference, which is drawing professionals and politicians from all over the South, including four sitting governors.
    Rhonda Hodges' job at Patrick Henry Community College is to mold students into workers and she couldn't be happier that McDonnell brought some of the best business, community and political minds together to talk about manufacturing.

    "Twenty-nine percent of the employment in Martinsville/Henry County is still manufacturing. That's important to note," she said. While Hodges spent a lot of time listening, she also has a message from the Southside.

    "We heard the governor's talking a lot about build on your existing strengths. And that's what we need to think about in our region and that (manufacturing) is certainly an existing strength of our region... is our background and history in manufacturing," said Hodges, Dean of Work Force Development & Continuing Education at Patrick Henry Community College.

    Linda Plaster, who works with the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce, echoes that sentiment and hopes this year's conference, which indirectly focuses on one of her main selling points, will help her better understand how to help her community move forward.

    "We have a very strong, dedicated workforce and we want to make sure we do our part to get them the skill sets that they need for the new industries coming in," said Plaster.

    And both southside community leaders liked what they were hearing, especially one of Governor McDonnell's driving points.

    "It's not good for American exceptionalism or American independence to have this sustained trend of shipping jobs to the Pacific Rim or Mexico. We've gotta repatriate those jobs. We've gotta bring them back," said the governor.

    A message well repeated at this conference but a prospect still far off, the governors contend, as the U-S continues to lag behind the world in free trade agreements that could eventually bring those jobs back.

    The governors of Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina also made the trip. The conference, which began June 12, wraps up June 14th.

    Guest speaker at various functions and talk show to discuss workforce issues.

    Speaking Events

    Bill Wyatt Show
    BTW 21
    Cooking with Paul
    Employer Advisory Meetings
    Danville WFC Legislative Event


    Attended various sessions/discussions at Southern Growth Policy Board conference where the topics were on workforce development in the south, advanced manufacturing skills and programs that are currently working in other areas and have a large influence in long tern sustainability and growth opportunities.

    Participated in the Harvest Foundation Strategic Planning sessions related to healthcare issues and the affects it has on our workforce and areas of improvement needed for long term sustainability.

    Recently began working with the new Community Recovery Program with Piedmont Community Services which is an opportunity to work on the areas of drug screens and background checks which is a huge concern to our employers.


    Item Goal Actual
    Total Employer Meetings N/A 145
    First Time Employer Meetings 85 115
    Employer Contact (not including meetings) N/A 111
    Total Partner Meetings N/A 61
    Partner Contacts (not including meetings) N/A 27


    Attended a 10 week Leadership Development Program designed to strengthen leadership skills, and provide insight in leadership options in community services and outreach.

    Attended a 4 week Supervisor Training Series “Improving Your Organization through Leadership” covering improving process and systems, leading your team to results, project management, problem solving, and roles of a leader.

    Attended a 2 day Workskills Class covering what it takes to succeed, getting the information you need, speaking with confidence and positive response to change.

    Attended and participated in various events listed below:

    Webinars Conferences Events
    Apprenticeship Retention Manufacturing in the South MHC Resource Fair
    Downtown Development Virginia Health Care Legislative Events
    Going Green Leadership Development Business After Hours
    Impact of Leadership Development Western Region Employer Conference Media Events and Guest Speaker
    WIA 101 Talent Development Fast Track
    Partnerships to Support WIA   New Business Announcements
        Rapid Response
        Job Fairs
        Targeted Recruitments
        Strategic Health Care Planning
        Health Care Reform


    Served on the Advisory Board for National College.

    Partnered with New College Institute when applicable

    Received Chancellor’s Award in the area of Workforce Development Instruction and Training. This award is in recognition of outstanding contributions made on behalf of workforce development services. Those receiving the award have assisted the college in program development and support in the success of serving Virginia’s workforce and community.

    Served on the District Career and Technical Education Advisory Council for Henry County Schools which focuses on the best ways to allocate the Perkins Grant Funds. These funds are used to prepare students for real workforce situations.

    Worked with PHCC Workforce Development to promote the Career Readiness Certification to employers and job seekers.


As this partnership continues into the second year, we have a lot to build upon. The Chamber has been highly proactive in promoting and advocating services of the VA Workforce Center.

In the coming months new programs and partnerships include close focus on OJT and how WIA and VEC can partner to bring this forward to the employers and potential employees, partnership with Piedmont Community Services to develop and implement the new Community Recovery Program as it relates to the employers, partnering with DRS and join their MADEN (Martinsville Area Disabilities Employment Network), partner with Patrick Henry Community College to present a new series of workshops (MHC Chamber’s Business Alliance @ PHCC) as well as build more relationships with the employers and community.

Thank you to the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board and Pittsylvania County Community Action, Inc. for the opportunity to promote the VA Workforce Center and its services as an advocate of the employers.

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