(Illustration by Matt Pamer)
It feels a little like musical chairs, doesn’t it? There are only so many jobs and too many people vying for each one. It’s scary to think that when the music stops, you might be left without. But, if a February statement from President Obama is any indication, things are looking up. Last month saw an addition of 476,000 workers to the labor force, and, over the last six months, the unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percent. Of course, those numbers don’t mean much if you’re dissatisfied with your work situation. So, in this issue, you’ll find out how to find a job, get a job, change jobs, or if all else fails, create your own job. We’ll introduce you to the area’s top employers and four fourth-years facing an uncertain job market. Plus, find out how one cat is changing the way a local office does business and hear some of your neighbors’ outlandish employment stories. In other words, we have all your work concerns covered, so when the music stops, everyone gets a seat at the conference table.
Easy as 1-2-3
Darden’s Jack Oakes tells you how to get the career you want
Jack Oakes, assistant dean for career development at Darden Business School, knows a thing or two about a job search. It’s Oakes’ job to make sure that 600-plus B-school students leave Charlottesville with the job they want. While Oakes’ work is focused on placing MBAs, he’s also on the cutting edge of the science and practice of the job search. Here are some tips.
Start with a self-assessment: Who am I and what do I want to do?
Identify a career objective: What do companies need? What job roles can I fill?
Market yourself as a solution to a problem.
“Our foundational philosophy is all about fit. We ask any job seeker to spend some time on self-assessment. Who are they? What skills, abilities, traits do they have? So they understand themselves well and they understand the kind of roles they can do well and what they’d enjoy doing.”
Oakes encourages his students to practice a wide range of self-assessment tools, starting with what he calls the “beer and napkin test” and finishing with Darden’s four-day marathon personal career assessment program. We like the idea that you can solve the problem by pulling up a tall stool and filling one side of a bar napkin with the things you do best and the other side with the jobs you like doing. Then connect the dots. The beer keeps you honest, which is important.
If you’re looking for some more robust tools, try Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, Kolb’s experiential learning style inventory, 360 Feedback Solutions, Gallup’s Strengthsfinder, or Harvard Business School’s CareerLeader.
Look back through your old performance reviews to see what you’re good at or get a copy of Richard Bolle’s What Color is Your Parachute? and start asking questions.
Always be prepared
“Being effective in an interview requires a ton of preparation. Not talking enough about yourself, not talking enough about what you’ve learned in past experiences, not talking about what you’re going to do isn’t going to work either.”
Oakes reminds us that a successful job interview is all about preparation. If you think all you have to do is walk in and be yourself, then you should probably be working for yourself. Employers are looking for someone who knows their industry, understands the job description, and can articulate how they can solve the problem that an opening presents.
You only get one shot
Remember that line about never getting a second chance to make a first impression? Oakes tells job interviewees to go into the meeting knowing what they want the employer to remember about them. Doing that involves understanding that the questions the employer asks aren’t as simple as they seem.
When they say, “Tell me about yourself,” they mean, “Why should I hire you?”
When they say, “Do you have any questions for me?” Oakes said, “They’re looking to see your level of preparation, your level of understanding and inquisitiveness about the industry, the company, and the role. And if you say you don’t have any questions, I think that’s the death knell. You might as well end the interview there.”
Change is painful
Some people go back to school because they want to change the direction of their career. While adding a new skill set to your job experience definitely enhances your chances at making a change, Oakes says it just puts that much more pressure on you to communicate your value to potential employers.
“In a better recruiting environment, a lot of recruiters are more open to career-changers but they’re still focused on the fact that this person needs to communicate to me quickly how they’re going to add value to my organization.”
No one wants to feel stuck, but changing industries and job functions is no easy task, especially in a job market like this one. Don’t underestimate how hard it can be. Maybe what you need is a better job fit in the same industry. Or maybe your job description fits closely with a job description in an unrelated line of work.
“The easiest job switch to make is function to function in the same industry. The most difficult change to make is from a different industry into a different function. I think most people underestimate how difficult it is to make that switch.”
Job searching isn’t fun. It’s an emotionally raw time. You’re exposed to failure and it’s easy to feel alone. Oakes says the key is not to take anything personally. Always take what he calls the “leadership view,” learning from each rejection and homing in on your target.
“For some, it’s the first time they have quote/unquote failed. Especially with this millenial generation. They’ll see not getting an offer as a failure rather than simply seeing it as the other person had more experience or had positioned themselves better. There can be some very dark moments in the process.”
At Darden, Oakes recommends that job-seekers create an informal job search board of directors, a loose group of people who care about you and can help offer insight and support during the process.
“It’s nice to have a collaborative group around you. We ask students put together …a group of advisors. The old soothsayer. The chum to cheer you up in tough times. Or maybe someone who’s a little bit more competitive, who says, ‘I know you can do this.’”—Giles Morris
THE NIGHTSHIFT: 3:34am
Seek and ye shall find
Finding a job in or around Charlottesville may feel like looking for a little bitty needle in a giant haystack, but rest assured a whole host of local companies have recently opened up the job market in a big way. Here, in industries from manufacturing to food and beverage, are the area’s top job creators in the past two years.
Silverchair Information Systems (Photo by Will Kerner)
Location: Albemarle County
Created: 120 jobs
2. Terremark Worldwide, Inc.
Location: Culpeper County
Created: 100 jobs
3. HemoShear LLC
Created: 83 jobs
4. Mikro Systems Inc.
Location: Albemarle County
Industry: Aerospace manufacturing
Location: Culpeper County
Created: 70 jobs
5. Silverchair Information Systems
Industry: Medical publishing
Created: 62 jobs
6. MicroAire Surgical Instruments
Location: Albemarle County
Created: 51 jobs
7. Blue Mountain Brewery
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: Nelson County
Created: 50 jobs
8. CFA Institute
Created: 45 jobs
Location: Albemarle County
Created: 45 jobs
9. PocketSonics, Inc.
Location: Albemarle County
Created: 38 jobs
10. Klockner Pentaplast of America, Inc.
Location: Louisa County
Created: 33 jobs
Source: Virginia Economic Development Partnership
That’s how many people in Charlottesville were unemployed as of December 2011.
Six jobs are better than none
It’s 11:51pm on a Tuesday. My roommates, a nursing student and full-time personal trainer, are sound asleep in bed, with alarms set and visions of reliable schedules dancing in their heads.
I, on the other hand, have just sat down with my second cup of peppermint tea and switched out my contacts for glasses before opening yet another Word document.
I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in English, and after dedicating a year and most of my sanity to a wilderness boarding school for at-risk teenage girls, I am now living in Charlottesville, pursuing a writing career.
Despite the fact that I’m getting up in six hours to babysit in Keswick all morning, with a press conference for a news story shortly after, I’ll be awake for a while longer, finishing my weekly batch of mundane, mindless online articles on “bad credit catalogues in the U.K.,” for which I’m paid $1.10 per 100 words with no byline by an online content firm.
My plan was to finish this assignment early in the afternoon, but I ended up working concessions at the UVA basketball game last-minute. (They made me wear a UVA visor. Did I mention I went to Tech?)
Like the chipper girl around my age at the staffing office said, “It’s not the most glamorous job,” but right now, I can’t afford to be picky.
I’m lucky enough to have parents who have offered to let me move back in with them and save money until I “get on my feet.” But I’m stubborn enough to work six part-time and freelance jobs and live in a tiny house and share a bathroom with two roommates and their boyfriends instead.
For the last four months, when someone has asked me, “What are you up to these days?” I’ve had to laugh and take a deep breath before answering.
“Well, I’m babysitting a couple days a week, and doing some part-time serving and bartending. Every Tuesday I work all day at The Hook as a proofreader and editorial assistant, and I’m writing a few news stories each week for C-VILLE Weekly. Oh, and I write online articles for this company in Blacksburg, and some pieces for a kids’ magazine in Kentucky.”
Though I never know how much work I’ll get from one week to the next, and I often get headaches from my wonky eating and sleeping schedules, I couldn’t have asked for a better first four months in Charlottesville. Serving overcooked cheeseburgers to sports fans has been immensely humbling. Babysitting wealthy kids has been excellent birth control. And working for two competing local publications has taught me more about the ins and outs of writing than any of my English classes could have, not to mention offering insight into the fact that journalism, contrary to popular opinion, is a blue-collar profession.
It’s 1:46am, and I finally submit my six 250-word articles. Before shutting down my computer, I notice an e-mail that I somehow missed earlier in the day. My 7am babysitting has been canceled. Well, at least I’ll get to sleep in before the press conference…but I really could’ve used that 85 bucks.—Laura Ingles
Around the time that this article was written, C-VILLE Weekly offered Laura a full-time job. She’s looking forward to regular working hours, a reliable paycheck, and no more burger serving. (Actually, we can’t guarantee that last one. A writer’s gotta eat!)
Lost in translation
“I worked at a mom and pop Chinese restaurant and one of the cooks, who was actually Vietnamese, had learned to cook at one of those Japanese steakhouses where the food is cooked at your table. He’d be in the kitchen by himself, throwing a wok of ingredients around, and doing the whole knife juggling bit because that’s how he cooked. One day, he asked me to go in the walk-in fridge to get ‘dog meat.’ I was kinda perplexed because I thought, surely, that old racial stereotype was wrong. I asked again. He said it again. So, I went into the fridge to see for myself. There were two bins of meat. One said ‘white meat,’ and the other said ‘dark meat.’ It was diced chicken thighs. I was so relieved.”
Here’s a sure-fire way to stay ahead of your competition: Bone up with five opportunities to stay relevant in an unsteady market, courtesy of Piedmont Virginia Community College.
“Introduction to Computing”
May 21-August 1, 6-9:50pm every Wednesday
Examine the development and social and ethical implications of computers, as well as programming language. Plus, input, storage, data manipulations, software, and hardware basics.
“Principles of Public Speaking”
May 21-August 1, 6-9:50pm every Monday
May 21-June 25, 1-3:40pm every
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
June 26-August 1, 1-3:40pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Communication Studies & Theatre instructor Tiffany Park teaches this introductory course for glossophobes.
“MS Excel,” “MS Access,” “MS Outlook”
Various dates and times
Learn to navigate these oft-used Microsoft programs so the next time someone asks you, “Are you familiar with Excel?” you can say—without lying!—that you are.
Work it, baby!
Get your resume handy for the 2012 Charlottesville Community Spring Job Fair on Wednesday, April 25 at John Paul Jones Arena. From 10am-3pm, more than 100 recruiters from more than 50 organizations in a wide variety of industries will be on hand to help you find employment or change careers. Plus, don’t miss the pre-job fair workshops from The Workforce Center: “How to Prepare for a Job Fair” on Wednesday, April 6, “Interviewing Skills” on Wednesday, April 13, and “Dress for Success” on Wednesday, April 20. Call 963-3965 or 984-7641 for more information or to register.
THE NIGHTSHIFT: 3:11am
Alexandra Gibson gets all up in your business
If you’ve always thought about starting your own business, you’re in the right place. The philosophical underpinning of UVA, its Jeffersonian forward-thinking, makes Charlottesville uniquely openminded and, said business owner Alexandra Gibson, “a great place to start an innovative business.”
The daughter of two entrepreneurs, Gibson’s used her economics degree and natural leadership skills in a rough job market to guarantee employment for herself by starting and managing her own businesses.
In 2005, she moved to Charlottesville to run the business side of Gibson Group, her mother’s interior design firm, and quickly began exploring the idea of starting her own business. After seeing so many interior design companies struggle with business models, she created Gibson Design Management, which assists firms in running a business and becoming “more profitable and effective.”
Gibson remembers the business world after the market crash in 2008, when the luxury market was hit especially hard, and interior design was no longer seen as a necessity.
“What we saw,” she said, “was that a lot of [those firms] were really needing the marketing help.” So, as a young and tech-savvy company, Gibson Design Management utilized its digital media skills to assist businesses in efficient and inexpensive digital marketing techniques.
This quickly became the largest part of the business, and ultimately inspired the July 2010 launch of OttoPilot Media, a company Gibson created to attract clients outside of the design industry. (She also helped launch Aspen Associates around this time, which works with the hospitality industry on procurement for hotel renovation projects.)
Still, with such success, Gibson said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing her employees succeed. “Of course we always like to see clients achieving their goals, but it’s always very personally satisfying for me to see somebody grow, take on more responsibility and improve,” she said.
With three businesses under her belt, Gibson is in a unique position to dispense advice for potential entrepreneurs. Here, she shares some words of wisdom.
When just starting out, resist the urge to write up an incredibly detailed business plan, because “so many things will change right out of the gate.” Gibson advises going with a good idea even if it is completely different from the initial outline.
“Just because it’s not in the original plan,” she said, “doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.”
Gibson also emphasized the importance of time management, and the fact that every tiny detail doesn’t need your full attention. “Remember that not everything is really that important,” she said. And be prepared for things to take twice as long—and cost twice as much—as you anticipated.
And when something does take longer than you hoped, or doesn’t go according to plan, remind yourself that you’re not a failure. “You can’t let that kind of stuff get to you,” Gibson said. Making mistakes is part of the process; you can learn from what doesn’t work.
At the same time, you also need to be prepared for worst case scenarios. “Be conservative,” she warned, “and cut your projections by about 30 percent.”
Having always been a leader and self-starter, Gibson calls herself “naturally overly optimistic” in her endeavors. There will always be bad days as well as “days that make it all worth it,” and to take it one day at a time.
“Don’t think about eating the elephant all in one bite,” she said. “Bite it off one piece at a time.”—Laura Ingles
“Once when I worked at a hotel, the big bosses from corporate were coming, so everything had to be patched, polished and shiny. My supervisor thought the track that the sliding glass doors fit in looked dirty, so he took the doors out, got a bucket of soapy water and two toothbrushes and told me and my employee to get on our hands and knees and scrub the track out. We threw the toothbrushes out when he walked away and she said, ‘I don’t get on my hands and knees for no man.’”
UVA fourth years share perspectives on the post-grad job hunt
Undergraduates are constantly reminded about the importance of education and experience as we move swiftly toward an unreliable job market. With graduation approaching, many fourth year students are experiencing a strange mix of excitement and fear, doubt and hope. Regardless of how we feel, however, the reality of the future cannot be denied. Here’s how a few fourth years are facing the pressure.—Tyler DeBoard
If you want to find a job in a down economy, stay ahead of the competition. At least, that’s Emily Burfoot’s approach. First, she had the University’s career services check over her resume and cover letter, and she’s been keeping busy by constantly checking job listings for companies she’s interested in, and interning during each summer of her college career.
“I’m trying to make some connections and network,” said Burfoot, who’s from Midlothian. “I feel like sometimes it’s about who you know.”
She said that becoming an intern through the University Internship Program has helped her gain insight about the future.
“I really want to get a job in the same field as my current internship at Starr Hill Brewery, with a beer distributor doing marketing and sales or doing event planning,” she said. “But I am for sure getting my bartender’s license to make some money right away.”
Location, location, location
For Aaron van Kuiken, graduation brings a welcome break—and a chance to catch up on life back home. The linguistics major plans to return to his native Cincinnati after graduation. “There are family and friends and a long-distance relationship I’ve been away from for far too long,” he said.
For now, the UVA football player is interning with legal publishing firm Lexis-Nexis, and hopes to follow up graduation with a career in publishing.
Opportunities in Ohio will likely differ greatly from what he’d find in New York or Boston, but van Kuiken hopes to return home and gain experience that will make him more sure of the positions he’s interested in.
Despite the somewhat unreliable job market, he’s excited to enter the work force.
“I’m ready to be financially independent and start my life,” he said.
All in this together
Marlene Brodsky says she would love to end up in a big city like New York or Boston and is currently interviewing with companies from all over the United States.
Being a psychology major, she said, has been somewhat of a road block as she applies for jobs in a business-related sector like human resources. However, she hopes that internship experience in UVA’s human resources department during the fall and spring semesters will amplify her resume and increase her chances of finding a job in that field.
She said many employers don’t consider applicants who are not Business or Human Resources majors.
“I guess employers in this economy can afford to be picky,” she said.
Still, Brodsky remains hopeful, especially when many of her peers are experiencing the same hangups.
“I’m confident something will work out, but it’s been a frustrating process,” she said. “It is comforting to know that I’m not the only one coming across these issues, though.”
Hunt and seek
The search is off for American government and sociology major Daniel Grimes. Having already secured a position through the Teach for America program, he’s off to work at a charter school in New York City after graduation.
But he remains hopeful for the rest of his classmates. The job market, he said, isn’t quite as bleak for 2012 grads as it was for the class of 2011. “Although it is not nearly as stable as it was before the recession, it seems as though the market is trending towards people with specific skills, such as commerce, nursing, engineering or education,” he said.
Grimes is also confident about his own future. His academic pursuits, he said, have taught him invaluable skills and he’s looking forward to “a new environment and new adventures.” Still, he’ll miss his time at UVA.
“There’s nothing like sprawling out on the Lawn with a blanket, a reading assignment, and a delicious snack.”
That was Charlottesville’s unemployment rate in December 2011. That’s 1 percent less than the state average and more than 3 percent less than the national average, which is 8.3 percent.
Beasts of business
Pets at the office keep things running purrfectly
When he’s not hard at work in the office, Romeo spends a lot of his time with visitors of the AIDS/HIV Services Group. (Photo by Andrea Hubbell)
Romeo is considered a valuable employee at the local AIDS/HIV Services Group office. A Charlottesville native, he’s friendly, reliable, and has a special knack for helping to calm people who are struggling with disease. Romeo is a confident counselor, as he too is infected.
Romeo, of course, is a cat, and he’s not the only friendly animal who helps local businesses in their daily operations. In fact, if you’re covered in fur and looking for work, there are many area job opportunities for you. Here’s a look at some local pets in the biz.
At Barracks Road bike shop Blue Ridge Cyclery, you’ll be greeted by Andy, the store’s St. Bernard. Andy excels at ensuring Blue Ridge’s customers’ satisfaction and is particularly adept at keeping the floor warm. (On a recent visit, Andy managed to recline on the floor in three different spots.)
Gizmo, a Welsh Corgi at Blue Whale Books on the Downtown Mall, “has a huge following,” said the store’s owner, Scott Fennessey. “People stop in to say hello to her every day.”
A sweet, low-maintenance pup, Gizmo is also known for a daring episode in her youth.
“One very dark night, she chased three bear cubs up a tree in our front yard. She was about six months old and weighed 20 pounds,” Fennessey said. “She may be terrified of plastic bags and umbrellas, but she’s one brave dog.”
Meanwhile, at Keswick Vineyards’ Tasting Room, patrons will meet Mittens, a carefree cat who spends most days lounging on the front porch of the building.â
“She loves people and will gladly cuddle up with our guests,” said wine club manager Kris Schornberg. “She’ll often get table scraps from them too.” Just beware sharing any cheese with her. She’s something of a snob when it comes to dairy snacks. “She loves cheese, but there are certain kinds she just won’t eat.”
But back to Romeo. The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA recently launched a program called “Pawsitive Partnerships,” which allows people who have AIDS/HIV to adopt cats infected with FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) for free. A virus which cats can get either from their mother at birth or through very aggressive cat fights that involve deep bites, FIV infects under 3 percent of all cats.
Through the Pawsitive Partnership program, Operations Manager Penny Goldman and her fellow officemates worked with the CASPCA to bring two adorable cats, Madea and the aforementioned Romeo, into the ASG offices as foster kitties. They quickly became essential comrades for many of the people who seek advice and help from ASG. Romeo often attends meetings of the ASG Board of Directors and is given his own chair at the table.
“I read an article some time ago about a woman who fostered FIV-positive cats,” Goldman said. “She claimed that they made the most wonderful pets she’d ever had. It was almost something inherent to their illness. It made them almost relish life, and that they had the most amazing dispositions. Based on our experience with Romeo and Madea, I couldn’t agree more.”
The cats, especially Romeo, often sit with people during their counseling at ASG. Having a feline to pet or sit on their laps, helps people who are struggling with AIDS/HIV relax. Researchers have found that pets can have a positive, therapeutic influence on the people they live (or work) with. It’s this natural anti-depressant that’s at the heart of the CASPCA’s Pawsitive Partnership program. Knowing that even a cat who is living with a comparable disease is able to live a long, fulfilling, and happy life is a great comfort.—Cris Edwards
THE NIGHTSHIFT: 1:56am
Show me the bunny
Cruising through Charlottesville’s Craigslist job postings
People in the throes of long-term unemployment are three times more likely than working stiffs to experience mental illness for the first time. Given that national unemployment went from 4.7 percent in January of 2006, to 9.7 percent in January of 2010, there must be a lot of people going crazy.
Currently, unemployment is at 8.3 percent, and trending slowly downwards. We’re doing even better here in Virginia, where only 6.1 percent of us were jobless in December of last year. In Charlottesville we’re partying like the financial crisis never happened with 5 percent unemployment. Things must be good, right?
Depends on which side of the percent line you happen to reside. If you’re one of the over 2,000 people without a job in our town, gather the remnants of your fraying sanity and head over to Craigslist. Charlottesville’s jobs page is fairly vibrant; a recent Friday had 63 postings for every kind of labor, from the basic,
Laundry Help (Charlottesville)
I need someone to do my laundry … I can supply laundry detergent/fabric softener…
to the complicated,
Research Scientist, Liver Systems (Charlottesville, VA)
Seeking enthusiastic, motivated and qualified research scientist responsible for performing animal hepatocyte isolations and cell culture steps … Background in liver organ systems is a plus
and everything in between. Here are some recent gems:
youtube help (Charlottesville)
we need help to optimize and market our new youtube vid. we are a local band. thx.
need 1 rod put in my closet (louisa, va)
(This isn’t what you think.)
Need help moving a TV
Need help moving a heavy television from upstairs to downstairs…We are inside the gates at Lake Monticello. Therefore, would prefer someone already inside the gates or someone close by.
(You need to place an ad for this? Can’t you just knock on some doors?)
PT Mall Security Officers NEEDED! (Charlottesville, VA)
…Embark upon an exciting career journey while helping us to create our future, determine our destiny, and Dare to be GREAT!
(That’s asking a lot of a mall cop. Does “creating our future” get you overtime?)
grooming make own hours (fluvanna)
call 434 591 1364
(That’s it. That’s all it says.)
Manager for Bunny Photo Store (Charlottesville Fashion Square)
…You will work closely with the Regional Manager, Marketing Director, and your team members to provide the best experience while our guests visit the Easter Bunny….
Right below that one:
Character, costumed (Charlottesville Fashion Square Mall)
…work in character as the “easter bunny”… Applicants must be animated, outgoing, willing to dance, jump, wave and motion while in costume.
And there’s always seasonal employment:
Little person model needed (UVA)
I am interested in hiring a little person to be in a picture for my Christmas card. It will involve wearing an elf costume that i can provide if necessary…. There will be a photographer and a santa impersonator there (as well as my dog who will hopefully be dressed as a reindeer).
If none of these jobs work for you, consider moving to Bismark, North Dakota. Unemployment in Bismark is only 3.2 percent, and there are some fabulous opportunities:
Bird mortality studies in North Dakota (Pembina, ND)
… temporary, part-time seasonal biological technician to conduct Bird mortality studies in North Dakota. Primary duties include conducting avian mortality surveys surrounding a wind turbine at the Port of Entry Station in Pembina, North Dakota
Naturally, the job requires “Experience conducting avian and/ or bat mortality studies at wind energy sites.”—J.Tobias Beard
A for effort
“Fifteen years ago I recieved an evaluation from a new supervisor that stated my ‘cheerful demeanor was a distraction to the work group.’ My manager had signed it with a comment to ‘Keep up the good work! ’ He might not have read the evaluation before he signed it, but I sure did. I rustled those papers back in his face and said, “What are you trying to say!?” The evaluation disappeared and was replaced with a better one. That supervisor also disappeared. Twenty-three years later, I’m still slaying them with cheer.”
By head count, the top employers in the area
University of Virginia Medical Center (Photo by Jack Looney)
1. University of Virginia. You’ve probably heard of this one. A big school on the western edge of town that hires everything from professors to floor-sweepers to number-crunchers. In the news lately, as not all make a “living wage.” See jobs.virginia.edu/ for a piece of the action.
2. University of Virginia Medical Center. The monster keeps expanding over in the West Main/JPA area, with a cancer center recently opened and a children’s hospital in the works. Along with all the square footage come new patients and you guessed it, jobs.
3. County of Albemarle. This one may be a surprise to some, but think of a building full of bureaucrats on McIntire Road, 30 schools full of teachers and cafeteria workers, and all the grass to mow along the county’s bucolic roadways.
4. Martha Jefferson Hospital. Growth has been the story at MJH lately as it completed its move last year to a new suburban campus. The on-site restaurant, Martha’s Garden Café, offers three meals a day—which means you never have to go home.
5. City of Charlottesville. The city has less than half the population of the surrounding county, but requires more employees per capita due to the services it provides.
6. UVA Health Services Foundation. Recently changed its name to the “UVA Physicians Group,” and features 1,200 doctors, nurse practitioners, and other health pros and administrators.
7. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. This regional operations center serves a five-state area and employs not only the claims managers you may have talked to, but also finance managers, actuarials, and administrative staff.
8. Charlottesville City School Board. We’ve got nine city schools plus a central office on Dairy Road. And it’s not just teachers and principals who work here. Buses need drivers, floors need to be swept, and soccer teams need coaching.
9. Aramark Campus LLC. Like school-food providers everywhere, this catering-and-cafeteria company takes some lumps at UVA, but nonetheless is on Fortune’s 2011 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.”
10. Northrop Grumman Corporation. Known locally as Sperry Marine, these guys make periscopes, radar systems, and gyrocompasses used on huge military and leisure ships. All surrounded by the impending Shops at Stonefield complex.
11. U.S. Department of Defense. This is the National Ground Intelligence Center (“N-GIC”) you may have heard about. Know what they do? They “produce and disseminate all-source integrated intelligence on foreign ground forces and related military technologies to ensure that U.S. forces have a decisive edge in current and future military operations.” Scary!
12. Wal-Mart. With a store on 29N, another in Ruckersville and a store and distribution center in Zion Crossroads, we’ve got enough of these to make Sam Walton proud.
13. Fluvanna County Public School Board and 14. Greene County School Board. These counties are small but fast-growing compared to Charlottesville and Albemarle (hence the healthy employment rolls).
15. Region Ten Community Services. This local government agency helps people with mental health, intellectual disability and substance use issues.
16. Food Lion. Whole Foods be damned! With eight stores located within 20 miles of Downtown, this mainline grocery store employs plenty of meatcutters, shelf-stockers, and checkout cashiers.
17. Piedmont Virginia Community College. Our two-year community college accepts every student who applies, and is growing despite state budge cuts. It’s also a back door for admission into UVA.
18. Wintergreen Partners. Plenty of full-time and seasonal jobs at our local winter wonderland. It’s open in the summer too, and is the biggest employer in bucolic Nelson County.
19. Nelson County School Board. Look out Fluvanna and Greene, they’re gaining on you!
20. SNL Financial. A big Downtown employer, SNL collects and republishes info on the banking, financial services, insurance, real estate, energy and media/communications industries. Though headquartered here, it has 15 offices, including locations in India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, and London. Bonus: If you’re employed here, you can wear flip-flops to work!
21. Kroger. See #16 above, they have three stores within 20 miles.
22. State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance. See #7 above. This is the home insurance division.
23. Crutchfield Corporation. This is a retail outlet, but mostly a huge mail-order home and car electronics outfitter. We understand sales consultants in their call center get to use stealthy pretend names on the phone.
24. CFA Institute. Ever heard of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation? Neither have we, but that’s the credential handed out by this “global association of investment professionals” that is scheduled to move to new offices at the old Martha Jefferson site. Like SNL, CFA also has offices in London and Hong Kong.
25. Worldstrides. This jumbo travel agency for school-tour groups was started by a middle-school teacher 40 years ago and recently moved to the Waterhouse Building on Water Street. There’s also a big office in Salt Lake City.
Source: Virginia Employment Commission, City of Charlottesville
Virginia’s unemployment average rate decreased from 6.9 percent in 2010 to 6.2 percent in 2011, a .07 percent decrease.
Take one look at our top employers list and you’ll know that the fields of education and medical are good bets for people thinking about jumping into the job force.
But who’s hiring right now? Skip Robbins, VP at Robbins Staffing Solutions, said “temp” jobs are still the most active sector in Charlottesville, and that the pace of “direct hires” (placements into full-time jobs) is “not where [he’d] like it to be.” But there is still a lot of activity in a town with just 6 percent unemployment.
“Administrative Assistant” is the No. 1 job that Robbins fills, and the top hirers are Martha Jefferson Hospital and the Darden School. Robbins, who specializes in accounting and finance jobs, observed that his competitors are also listing a lot of light industrial posts.
Over at Adams & Garth Staffing, Christian Howell says the CFA Institute (a licensing/testing group for prospective investment managers) is on a roll right now, telling him seven months ago that it planned to add 100 jobs over the next year. CFA even brought in five of its own contract recruiters to help fill the demand, he said. Howell, who sits on the board of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Human Resources Association, also mentions MicroAire, Silverchair, and the Boar’s Head Inn as companies that are actively hiring.
Manufacturing, health care, and hospitality/leisure are the top performers in this area, according to Adecco Staffing’s Matthew Fravel, who is located in Waynesboro.
Based on all this, our crystal ball tells us those of us who are not working at one of Charlottesville’s hospitals will be working instead at the former MJH on Locust Avenue, where both the CFA Institute and a new hotel are slated to take up residence.
That’s a gas
“My favorite thing about working as a cook at KFC was the after-hours ice and nugget fights. Also, that was the summer they first introduced Popcorn Chicken. All my manager said about it was, ‘It makes you fart a lot.’”