Mayor Jones meets with Pres. Obama, talk industry

Posted at 7:20 PM, Mar 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-14 19:20:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) --Mayor Dwight C. Jones met with President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. on Monday. When Mayor Jones met with President Obama, he said they were both on the same wave length.

"I'm laying out my plans for a new national network of manufacturing innovation," said President Barack Obama.

"We certainly would be interested in being a part of that,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.

Jones wants to creating jobs in a tough economy.”Everybody feels that the economy is beginning to come back,” said Jones.

Mayor Jones was one of 10 mayors to sit down with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House this week to talk about what's happening in their communities and the need for federal investments.

Jones stressed the importance of Virginia's Biotechnology Research Park and the economic impact of its Life Sciences and summer programs.

The Mayor is also pushing President Obama's vision of expanding the Manufacturing industry.

He wants to create an Industrial Park off I-95 and Commerce road.  He’s set aside $2 million in the city budget to improve that area and widen the road leading into the Port of Richmond.

"That's the foundation, is to assemble the land and to assemble the necessary parcels that would be needed for us to be able to compete with our competitors,” said Jones, “and say we're open for business."

"It would be good for everyone all around."

Anna Marie-Epps has been out of work for 5 months.  And with two degrees under her belt, it's still tough to find a job.

"I'm not really use to having to go out and get my name out there, network, go to job fairs which have limited options” said Anna Marie-Epps.

And while others may share the Mayor's vision, Marty Jewell is concerned it could be some time before that plan becomes a reality.

"What about the fierce urgency of now, when we've got people who need jobs now, who have not had job readiness training,” said Marty Jewell, 5th District City Councilman.

Jewell also points out that job seekers have another challenge.

“Our people in Richmond can’t get to their destinations, they don’t have transportation,” said Jewell.  “And rather than wait on Chesterfield and keep badgering Chesterfield to open GRTC routes, we can run shuttles to those job centers.”

Mayor Jones admits that it’s hard to hire people who don’t have training or some type of experience to those jobs.  But Wednesday, he did announce the opening of the second Workforce Development center that will help people with resume writing and interview skills.

Right now, there’s no time line as to when the project will be built or how much it will cost the City.