Virginia Raises Minimum Wage on May Day — Effective Saturday (May 1), Virginia’s minimum wage went up from $7.25 per hour to $9.50, the state’s first increase since 2009. Wages could rise to $15 in 2026, if approved by the General Assembly in 2024. Localities now also have the authority to adopt ordinances allowing collective bargaining with public employees. [DCist]
Twin Sheep Born at Frying Pan Farm Park — “Frying Pan Farm Park’s Suffolk ewe, Bristol, delivered the last of the sheep births that the farm will see this spring. Her twin ewes arrived April 11.” [Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter]
Dulles Greenway Hosts First “Run the Greenway” Races — The first annual “Run the Greenway” race in Loudoun County attracted more than 1,400 runners and raised over $156,000 for 27 different area nonprofits on Saturday. The event featured 5K, 10K, and 800-meter Kids Fun Run races with staggered start times for social distancing as well as a virtual option. [Loudoun Now]
Porcupine Quills Seized at Dulles Airport — Customs and Border Protection seized 100 porcupine quills from a U.S. citizen who came to Dulles International Airport from Africa on April 21. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CBP to seize the quills, because they are a potential vector for the monkeypox virus. [CBP]
The Water Mine Seeking New Lifeguards — The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole in Reston is hiring more than 150 lifeguards for the upcoming summer season. Several drive-thru, socially distanced job fairs will be held on site (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) throughout May, with the first event coming on Friday (May 7) from 4-6 p.m. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Fairfax County government workers whose jobs put them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 will now receive $2,000 in hazard pay, an increase from the $1,500 that county staff initially recommended in January.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the one-time bonuses on Tuesday (Feb. 9) before directing staff to look for additional funding to cover bonuses for all employees.
“It has been something to watch the response of our county employees over the past year to this pandemic,” Board Chairman Jeff McKay said after introducing the motion. “To be able to do this and have the resources available to reward these employees and thank them is absolutely critical.”
While the board expanded the program to include limited-term employees as well as merit employees, it backed staff’s suggestion of using the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health COVID-19 risk assessment to determine workers’ eligibility for hazard pay.
When the proposal first came to the board during its budget committee meeting on Jan. 12, some supervisors expressed concern about leaving out workers who could contract COVID-19 while on the job but don’t meet the VOSH standards for their risk level to be classified as “high” or “very high.”
The board planned to vote on hazard pay on Jan. 26, but the decision was postponed so that county staff could continue talks with the Fairfax County government employees’ union, SEIU Virginia 512, and other workers’ groups, which were advocating for hazard pay to be available to all employees.
Because the hazard pay comes from CARES Act relief funds, Fairfax County staff say federal guidelines dictate that the money must be limited to employees whose duties involve physical hardship directly related to pandemic emergency response efforts.
The approved proposal will cost an estimated $9.2 million, keeping it within the $10 million allocation that the Board of Supervisors set aside from the county’s coronavirus relief fund for hazard pay.
A broader hazard pay plan would have to use county funds, which McKay previously told Tysons Reporter would be “unlikely” to happen with the fiscal year 2022 budget. County Executive Bryan Hill will present an FY 2022 budget proposal to the board on Feb. 23.
The Board of Supervisors instead hopes to find the money for more bonuses in its FY 2021 budget through a third-quarter review that will be approved when the FY 2022 budget is marked up on Apr. 27.
“I think this is exactly the type of environment that we’re in right now that contributes to making bonuses a practical, doable solution to really value the work of all of our county employees at a time when we can’t do all of the things we’d like to do,” McKay said.
For the FY 2021 third-quarter review, staff have also been asked to evaluate the county’s leave programs and determine if new options can be provided to employees who have been unable to take advantage of existing programs due to the nature of their job.
SEIU Virginia 512 Executive Board President Tammie Wondong says the union was glad that Fairfax County ultimately included limited-term employees in its hazard pay plan.
“We are headed in the right direction, because the fact is we were heard, and we got their attention,” Wondong said. “That’s the most important thing, that they heard us and they responded. It’s not fixed. We’ve still got a lot more work to do, but…now we’re able to continue to lift our voices and talk about how it continues to impact us, with the pandemic that’s going on and how people are risking their lives just to be out there.”
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Reston Association Has No Plans to Remove Snow with Plows — The association does not plan to remove snow on its pathways because they do not have enough snow on them for the organization to safely operate the plows. Instead, crews have removed high traffic areas by hand. [RA]
Virtual Instructional Job Fair Set for Feb. 20 — Fairfax County Public Schools is hiring a virtual job fair on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 8-11:30 a.m. Virtual interviews are planned from Feb. 22 through March 5. [FCPS]
Fairfax Connector Issues Reminder of Mask Requirement — ‘Fairfax Connector passengers are reminded that they must wear a mask or a face covering, as now federally mandated, when taking public transit or visiting a transit hub in Fairfax County. This safety measure, which has been in place on board Fairfax Connector buses since May 2020, aims to protect passengers and bus operators during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.’ [Fairfax County Government]
Reston District Station Town Hall Set for Today — The police department will introduce its new data dashboard at a virtual meeting today at 5 p.m. [Zoom]
Photo via Marjorie Copson
Fairfax County should provide hazard pay to all local government workers, a union that represents more than 2,000 general county employees argues.
The county is currently considering a proposal to provide a one-time $1,500 hazard pay bonus to workers who are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. Staff say about 4,000 employees would be eligible for the benefit.
However, SEIU Virginia 512 — the Fairfax County government employees’ union — says the bonus should be available to all workers, because they have all taken risks and been forced to adapt so the county can keep providing essential services during the pandemic.
As of yesterday (Wednesday), a petition urging Fairfax County supervisors to extend $1,500 hazard pay bonuses to all staff has been signed by nearly 1,000 workers, with more signatures expected to come, according to SEIU Senior Communications Specialist Rachel Mann.
“We’ve all been impacted by what’s going on. Whether we are doing our assigned work or not, we are still working,” SEIU Virginia 512 Executive Board President Tammie Wondong said. “…We are continuing to keep Fairfax County running. Residents are being continually served. So, that’s why everyone needs to have hazard pay.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was initially scheduled to vote on the proposed plan on Tuesday (Jan. 26), but the decision was postponed after Chairman Jeff McKay asked staff to continue discussions with the union and other workers’ groups.
Under the staff plan, hazard pay would go to workers whose risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is rated “high” or “very high” by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) risk assessment. It would also be limited to merit or career positions.
Fairfax County intends to pay for the bonuses using CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds. Federal guidelines, however, dictate that CARES Act money can only be used for hazard pay if an employee is performing duties that involve physical hardship related to COVID-19 response efforts.
In other words, localities must establish criteria for hazard pay eligibility to use CARES relief funds, Fairfax County Department of Management and Budget Director Christina Jackson told the board on Jan. 12.
The county could use its own funds to extend hazard pay to more workers, but McKay suggests employees should temper their expectations for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
“Based on the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic, it will be challenging to address many of the Board’s priorities in the FY2022 [budget],” McKay said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “The budget is still early stages and we are exploring what options are available, but it is unlikely we would have the resources to increase hazard pay funding in the next budget cycle.”
SEIU Virginia 512 supports the amount of the proposed bonus, which came out of talks between workers’ groups and county staff, but the union argues restricting hazard pay to select positions and agencies ignores the risks all employees face when doing their jobs.
For instance, a sanitation worker may not typically come into direct contact with the residents whose trash they collect, but their job still requires them to regularly go out into the community.
“You don’t know who you’re passing, and you don’t know who’s infected. You just don’t know,” Wondong said. “It’s a risk that we take just coming in and out of our homes every day.”
The burden placed on workers who test positive for COVID-19 to prove they contracted the disease through their job could also potentially be a concern.
Further complicating matters, Fairfax County has been reassigning many employees to duties outside their usual purview as some departments have reduced operations and others have ramped up during the pandemic.
Wondong is a social worker for the county’s aging and older adults services division, but she is currently working in a different role for her department, one that allows her to work from home but also normally carries a higher salary than what she’s being paid.
Wondong says hazard pay would not be up for debate if Fairfax County employees had stronger collective bargaining powers to guarantee equitable compensation and working conditions.
“What we believe as a union is that all county workers deserve fairness and equity when it comes to pay and benefits. That’s what we believe,” Wondong said.
Photo via Fairfax County government/Facebook
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and 25 other technology companies will be represented at a virtual career fair hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority on Thursday (Jan. 28).
The Cyber and Cloud Virtual Career Fair will focus on the information technology, cyber, and cloud industries. Participation is free of charge for job seekers, and the FCEDA is encouraging professionals of all experience levels to attend. People with security clearances are especially in demand, though that is not a required qualification.
“Our region is a top cyber and cloud hub and there has never been a better time to land a job in this industry because of the thousands of open jobs here,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said in a press release. “We are proud to be working with such a diverse group of companies that are letting us help them cast a wide net to find the right talent to fill these jobs and keep our networks, businesses, agencies and people secure.”
This is the latest in a series of job fairs that the FCEDA has been organizing throughout the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous events included fairs focused on hiring and reskilling, and women in technology.
According to the FCEDA, the first three job fairs in the series “collectively attracted over 2,100 attendees and resulted in 3,100 completed conversations between job seekers and hiring reps from a wide range of employers.”
The tech industry is expected to grow rapidly in Fairfax County in the coming years. About half of the more than 86,000 open jobs on the FCEDA’s job board are in technology fields, and the D.C. area is projected to add more than 130,000 tech jobs within the next five years.
The FCEDA’s job fair series is part of an initiative funded by Fairfax County to attract, retain, and retrain workers.
“Cloud and cyber companies are an important and growing facet of the Fairfax County tech economy,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “I am delighted to see the talent initiative that the Board of Supervisors funded helping residents find jobs and emphasizing the importance of these sectors to Fairfax.”
Because the cyber and cloud career fair will be conducted virtually, candidates do not need to be currently located in Northern Virginia, and some companies are open to remote work options, the FCEDA says.
Interested job seekers can visit the FCEDA’s Work in Northern Virginia website to register and to see a full list of participating companies.
Photo via Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
Reston has been ranked as the number one place to work from home.
According to a recent ranking from Money magazine, Reston came on the top of a national list, which considers the cost of living, safety, education quality the number of residents working from home, access to necessities like daycares and pharmacies, and sufficient internet connection.
The magazine states that Reston was “practically designed with the remote employee in mind.”
The ranking comes as Americans across the country make the transition to remote work, transforming living rooms into work stations and closets into virtual classrooms.
According to a recent survey by Redfin, roughly 72 pe recent of homebuyers expects to continue working remotely after the pandemic winds down.
Here’s what Money had to say about Reston.
Built from the ground up in the 1960s, Reston is a planned residential community created to be a green suburb where families could live, play and work without having to rely on a car.
The census-designated place has 55 miles of paved pedestrian pathways and trails that connect the various neighborhoods and a majority of residents live within a 10 minute-walk of one of Reston’s 73 parks. It’s home to two golf courses and four man-made lakes perfect for fishing, boating, or lakeside picnics.
The city has one main town center and five village centers — one for each neighborhood. Residents boast about the endless food options they offer. Like Cafesano in South Reston, where you can enjoy a $14 steak kabob seated on a deck that overlook Lake Thoreau.
The city is no stranger to work-from-home families so it’s well-equipped to take care of your remote needs. Pre-pandemic, about 6.3% of Reston residents worked from home, compared to the national rate of 4.5%.
Nearly all households have an adequate internet connection by the BroadbandNow definition. But if you need access to an office, Washington D.C. is only a 33-minute drive away (or 45 minutes and $8 via public transportation). In the opposite direction, Washington-Dulles International Airport is only 15 minutes by car (or 20 minutes and $2 on the Fairfax Connector).
The community has a median home price of $434,000 and roughly 88 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Overall, a little over 3 percent of residents were working from home before the pandemic.
Other areas that ranked high on Money’s list include Naperville, Illinois., Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Roseville, California.
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Reston Association Phone Service Restored — After experiencing issues with inbound calls to its member services line, phone service has been restored. [RA]
Snow Days Possible During Virtual Learning — With snow expected on Wednesday and into Thursday, school officials are saying they still anticipate providing “additional approaches” for observing snow days that could include teacher-led and independent learning. Days off are also possible. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Fairfax County Shelter Offers Safe Adoption — Local police are looking into cases of puppy scams in the area. A spike in the number of pet scams has also been reported. [Reston Patch]
Search Underway for Classroom Monitors — The school system is currently looking to hire temporary classroom monitors. A job description is available online. [FCPS]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Set for Jan. 28 from 1-4 p.m., the virtual fair will give candidates a chance to interview with 20 companies in Northern Virginia. According to FCEDA, more than 5,000 open positions are available at all experience levels.
“The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is proud to host the Cyber + Cloud Virtual Career Fair,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “We are thankful to the outstanding tech companies that will be participating in this event. This will be a great opportunity for job-seekers to interview virtually for job opportunities in two of the most robust industry sectors in Northern Virginia.”
Candidates with security clearances are strongly encouraged to attend. Attendees will be able to chat with company representatives and can register and attend from anywhere.
A lineup of the represented companies is below:
- BAE Systems North America
- Constellation West
- Easy Dynamics
- Human Touch
- Kreative Technologies
- ManTech International
- Ridgeline International
- Triumph Enterprises
The career fair is part of FCEDA’s newly-created talent attraction and retention initiative which is funded by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Photo via Unsplash
Blackboard to Sublease Half of Reston Headquarters — “Blackboard Inc., which has played a role in helping school systems shift to online learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is hoping to shed half of the headquarters space it leased in Reston nearly two years ago as part of a relocation from its longtime home in the District.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Offers Job Training — “The Fairfax County Department of Family Services is able to reskill and upskill job seekers recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic. Focusing on high-demand skills, eligible Virginians can access free training in five essential industries.” [Fairfax County Government]
Deaths Increase in Virginia During Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic — “Ten people died on Virginia roadways over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the Virginia State Police. One of the deaths was a 6-year-old boy. From Nov. 25 through Nov. 29, the state police reported eight fatal crashes, leading to the 10 deaths, an increase from 2019 when there were eight traffic deaths during the five-day Thanksgiving period.” [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Virtual Job Fair Set for Job-seekers Age 50+ — The county is hosting a free virtual employment expo. On Friday (Dec. 4) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is open online. [Fairfax County Government]
Herndon High School’s NJROTC Donates Holiday Meals — “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing need for food in the area, the Herndon High School NJROTC donated 11 family meals for Thanksgiving and pledged another ten meals for Christmas, for a total of 21 in honor of the Class of 2021, to families in need via Food for Neighbors.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]
70,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Expected in Virginia — “Gov. Ralph Northam said in a Wednesday news conference in Richmond that an estimated 70,000 doses would be in the first wave of Pfizer vaccines sent to Virginia. Should the FDA give approval to Pfizer’s vaccine, doses would go to states immediately, which Northam expected would happen as early as mid-December.” [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
More than 30 companies in the D.C. metro area are looking to hire women for open positions in STEM-based fields at a Women in Technology Virtual Career Fair tomorrow (Thursday). Some of the companies include Amazon, Capital One, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
The career fair is sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Capital One as part of an ongoing series of virtual career fairs that the FCEDA has supported in response to the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release from the FCEDA.
The first three virtual fairs in the series attracted more than 2,100 attendees, the release says.
“More girls and women need to be exposed to the high-paying jobs in the technology sectors that are a major part of the economy of Fairfax County,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said.
Gross, who serves as vice chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, added that “efforts such as this career fair open up a wider talent pipeline for the companies that have so many job openings even during the pandemic.”
According to the release, only 26% of the jobs held by women in the workforce are computing-related jobs. The career fair on Nov. 5 will help connect technology professionals with top organizations in the D.C. metro area, seeking to help increase access to opportunity “in a field where women have been historically underrepresented.”
Participants will be able to browse companies through a virtual lobby, enter their booths, view open positions, engage in video conferencing, and talk with human resources representatives at the virtual fair.
“In Northern Virginia, we have more than 15,000 tech firms constantly hiring. In fact, tech job postings are growing more in Virginia than in California and New York,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said. “We are a region that not just embraces, but pioneers diversity: women are twice as likely to work in tech in Northern Virginia than in Silicon Valley.”
Participation in the career fair is free of charge. Employers interested in promoting their job openings can contact Mike Batt, the FCEDA Director of Talent Initiative Programs at [email protected] or visit the Employer Resources page.
Photo via the FCEDA/Instagram
Candidate Forum for Town of Herndon Election This Weekend — Candidates for the mayoral and council elections will take part in a panel moderated by Brian Tumulty, who covers finances and taxes for The Bond Buyer. The event is hosted by the Dulles Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. [Dulles Chamber of Commerce]
County Grant Programs Expands Eligibility Criteria — “Expanded business sectors are now eligible to apply, including small hotels and bed and breakfast lodging facilities, along with film industry companies supporting production in the commonwealth.” [Fairfax County Government]
Virtual Career Fair Set for Oct. 8 — “The Hiring + Reskilling Virtual Career Fair will welcome job seekers of all backgrounds, especially those unemployed due to COVID-19. The open positions will span a variety of industries, and not all require a college degree. Open positions include store clerks, construction laborers, security guards, program managers, information security analysts, and more.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
To attract talent to the Northern Virginia area, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting a workshop for regional companies.
The online Talent Attraction Workshop: Marketing Northern Virginia will take place Tuesday (Sept. 15) from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. and help employers understand what draws people to the area and how to recruit talented individuals, according to a press release.
There are roughly 80,000 currently untilled positions in the region, the website said.
“The workshop will also reveal top findings from talent perception research commissioned by the FCEDA, as well as findings from a national survey of 1,600+ people recently conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) — the leader in marketing places,” the press release said.
For those who are interested, the event will also include an introduction to an online hub for talent to learn about career opportunities and relocation information.
“The hub includes a job board with 90,000+ active listings in Northern Virginia, upskilling and training resources, a cost of living calculator, a community finder quiz and more.”
Potential attendees can register for the Zoom session online.
Photo by Bruce Mars/Unsplash
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to hold a virtual job fair on Wednesday to hire educators.
People interested in participating are urged to learn about the school system, apply to open jobs and register for one or both sessions, which have attendance caps.
During the virtual job fair, job hunters will be able to chat one-on-one with HR or school representatives from FCPS.
FCPS has more than 90 job opportunities listed online. The majority of the open positions are for high school and middle school teachers.
Several local companies are among the 15 tech employers listed for an upcoming virtual job hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
The fair is targeted to mid-career tech professionals, especially ones with security clearances, and the companies represented will have a total of 3,000 open jobs in the Northern Virginia region, according to FCEDA.
“While the fair is primarily for those in tech fields including data science, software engineering, IT, cybersecurity, defense and aerospace, some companies are featuring non-tech positions such as marketing, sales, finance, human resources and legal,” according to FCEDA.
Companies signed up for the fair include:
- Microsoft, Reston
- Amazon Web Services, Arlington
- AppGuard Inc., Chantilly
- CGI, Fairfax
- Customer Value Partners, Fairfax
- Expedition Technology, Herndon
- EntropyZero Consulting, Reston
- FireEye, Reston
- Ipsun Solar, Fairfax
- General Dynamics Information Technology, Falls Church
- ManTech International, Herndon
- MicroHealth, Tysons
- NTT Data Federal, Tysons
- Serco Inc., Herndon
- SOSi, Reston
Previously, FCEDA hosted a virtual career fair for recent college graduates.
“Every job represents a household, so when we connect people — whether newly minted graduates or those midway through a career — to thousands of open jobs, we are really improving lives, saving households and communities,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
People will be able to browse companies in a virtual lobby before entering “virtual booths” to view open positions and video conference with recruiters.
The job fair will be hosted on Tuesday, July 14, from 1-4 p.m. People can register online.
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash