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Morning Notes

Vienna Metro station across I-66 (photo by John Lee/Twitter)

Vienna Contractor Settles Federal Lawsuit — IT company Sage Consulting Group, Inc. agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that the company and its owner Robert Pleghardt paid kickbacks to obtain subcontracts on set-aside contracts intended for small businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged citizens. The settlement was announced yesterday (Tuesday) by Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Capital One Plans Technologist Hiring Surge — “Amid cloud growth, banking giant Capital One plans to add 3,000 new roles for technologists by the end of 2021…Almost 75% of the hires will be in engineering roles, focusing on machine learning, software development and data work to advance the company’s natural language processing.  Capital One said ‘hundreds’ of positions will be open at the company’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, with others will be at locations across the country.” [Technical.ly]

Language Barriers Challenge Those Seeking Unemployment Benefits — “Many non-English speakers who lost their jobs during the pandemic had to rely on their children, family or friends to help them file unemployment insurance claims with the [Virginia Employment Commission]. The state agency does not provide claimants with any language translation options other than English and Spanish on its website.” [Inside NoVA]

Wolf Trap Adds More Summer Concerts — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has added five more shows to its 50th anniversary season lineup, including singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra, and a “Broadway in the Park” musical theater showcase featuring “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry and Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. [Patch]

Photo by John Lee/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Coneflower pollinator on Greensboro Drive in Tysons (photo by Joanne Liebig)

County Leaders Frustrated by State Funding for Prosecutors — Fairfax County leaders say Virginia’s current formula to determine funding for Commonwealth’s Attorney offices undermines criminal justice reform efforts by rewarding localities that seek incarceration over diversion. A 15-month, state-commissioned study of the issue is set to launch this month. [The Washington Post]

Progress on Unemployment Rate Stalls — “Like much of Northern Virginia, Fairfax County’s jobless rate has improved substantially from the depths of the COVID crisis a year before, but now seems struck in neutral as it attempts to return to pre-pandemic lows…Fairfax’s jobless rate of 3.7 percent in May was up a tick from 3.6 a month before, according to figures reported June 30 by the Virginia Employment Commission.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Tysons-Based Engineering Contractor Acquired — “Newport News-based Fortune 500 military shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries will acquire McLean-based defense contractor Alion Science and Technology Corp. from Veritas Capital in a $1.65 billion, all-cash deal, HII announced in a news release Tuesday. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.” [Virginia Business]

County to Hold Virtual Meeting on Strategic Plan — “Join us July 21 for a virtual community conversation to share your thoughts on the Fairfax Countywide Strategic Plan as we move forward to shape the future of Fairfax County together. Register online.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Virginia to Speed Up Unemployment Claims — Gov. Ralph Northam told the Virginia Employment Commission yesterday (Tuesday) to invest $20 million to add staff and make technology upgrades to process unemployment insurance claims faster. Aiming to modernize the system by Oct. 1, the governor’s office says the funds will speed up the resolution of cases flagged as potentially fraudulent or ineligible, about 4% of all claims. [Office of the Governor]

Warmer Weather Brings Hope for CicadasBrood X cicadas emerged “in pockets” around the D.C. region this past week, but evening temperatures in the 40s and 50s presented challenges during their molting process and left those that molted successfully “sluggish” and vulnerable to predators. The emergence should accelerate later this week, with temperatures expected to climb into the 80s and 90s. [The Washington Post]

Verizon Proposes Cell Tower in Falls Church — Verizon Wireless and Milestone Towers have submitted a proposal to the Falls Church City School Board to install a cell tower on the city’s high school and middle school campus. Two virtual town halls will be held today (Wednesday), starting with one for surrounding residents at 6-7 p.m. and followed by one for the school community at 7-8 p.m. [Falls Church News-Press]

Celebrate Fairfax Festival Canceled — “Celebrate Fairfax organizers announced late Monday that the 2021 festival will not take place. The event is typically held over several days in the summer outside the Fairfax County Government Center. The event was also canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Patch]

Caboose Tavern to Donate Pancakes to Firefighters — “Neighborhood favorite Caboose Tavern is donating one stack of pancakes to the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department for every breakfast meal purchased through May 28. The Caboose Tavern team will deliver the pancakes to Vienna’s first responders following the campaign. The partnership comes shortly after Caboose launched their new breakfast service.” [Caboose Tavern]

Photo by Joanne Liebig

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The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) is hosting its fifth virtual career fair on May 20.

More than 25 Northern Virginia companies will participate in the fair, which is focused on hiring entry-level workers. The FCEDA is broadcasting the event to more than 100 colleges and universities across the country, and anyone who registers can join for free.

The fair is part of a series that the FCEDA has been organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made finding work more challenging due to the ongoing economic uncertainty and limited chances for face-to-face interactions. Hiring for college graduates at entry-level positions has dropped 45% since the beginning of the pandemic, the FCEDA says in a news release.

“We want to let anyone looking to start or restart their career – from recent college graduates and retired members of our military to parents reentering the workforce – that Northern Virginia is the place to do it,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with such a diverse group of companies to introduce fresh faces to an incredible place to live and work.”

The virtual career fairs is part of a talent initiative that the Fairfax County government is funding through the FCEDA to “attract, retain, retrain and grow the workforce that businesses need to succeed in Fairfax County — and to help those looking for jobs find them here, particularly during the pandemic.”

The four previous virtual career fairs in the initiative have attracted nearly 2,900 attendees, according to the FCEDA.

As part of the initiative, the FCEDA also launched a job search website that lists all job postings in the Northern Virginia area and sorts them by different sectors and job types. There are also opportunities to enhance or gain new skills for people who may be looking for a career change.

The Entry-Level Professionals Virtual Career Fair will be held on May 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. Prospective applicants can register to receive the link to the event. They do not need to reside in Northern Virginia.

Employers looking to promote their job openings can still register their companies by visiting the employer resource page.

More information on the virtual career fair, what companies will be attending, and how to register can be found on the FCEDA website.

Photo via Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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Morning Notes

J.R. Stockyards Inn for Sale — The 1.18-acre property that currently houses one of the oldest restaurants in Tysons hit the market in early March, with a new owner expected to be chosen by the end of April. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment of the site in October that would replace the Stockyards with a 26-story mixed-use building. [Washington Business Journal]

Connolly Urges Congress to Follow Virginia’s Lead in Legalizing Weed — “Another big progressive win here in Virginia,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) said after the Virginia General Assembly voted yesterday to legalize marijuana starting July 1. “I hope my colleagues in the House and Senate will join me in supporting the MORE Act to legalize marijuana nationwide.”[Gerry Connolly/Twitter]

Falls Church Schedules Town Hall on Gateway Development — Falls Church City staff and the developer of the West Falls Church project will present updates and answer questions on April 14 at noon. The city will also hold a town hall meeting on April 15 to discuss its proposed FY 2022 budget and new capital improvements program. [City of Falls Church]

Clemyjontri Carousel and Train Among Facilities Reopening This Spring — Fairfax County Park Authority facilities have started to reopen for the spring, with hours expected to expand further into the summer. Visitors are encouraged to buy tickets in advance, because amusements will operate at reduced capacity, though drop-in tickets will be available on-site if they do not sell out online. [FCPA]

Proof of Job Searches Will Soon Be Required for Unemployment Benefits Again — “The Virginia Employment Commission says it will start notifying unemployment benefit recipients of the return of job-search requirements starting in May. To qualify, or continue to qualify, for unemployment benefits in Virginia, those filing claims must provide evidence…of at least two job applications each week for VEC review.” [WTOP]

Photo by Joanne Liebig

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Morning Notes

Wind Advisory in Effect Today — A wind advisory will be in effect today for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winds could reach speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and result in fallen tree limbs or power disruptions. [National Weather Service, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management/Twitter]

Northam Plans to Speed Up Marijuana Legalization — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to ask the legislature to legalize the adult possession of an ounce or less of marijuana beginning on July 1, according to several sources with knowledge of the administration’s ongoing discussions with lawmakers. Lawmakers passed legislation last month that wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024.” [VPM]

Falls Church Narrows Down Possible New School Names — Committees tasked with selecting new names for the city’s elementary and high schools will present five recommendations each to the Falls Church City School Board by April 9. The groups have whittled hundreds of suggestions down to 18 options for the high school and 53 for the middle school. The school board will make the final decisions on May 13. [Falls Church News-Press]

Greater Washington Partnership Envisions Regional Train System — “An alliance of the Washington area’s top chief executives is pushing for Maryland and Virginia commuter trains to cross jurisdictions to provide service that would be more frequent and more interconnected…It could be achieved within a quarter-century, said the group, which has rallied support from transit advocates, the region’s passenger railroads and public- and private-sector groups.” [The Washington Post]

Satellite Telecommunications Company Moves Into Tysons — SpaceLink announced earlier this week that it has established a headquarters office in Tysons. The company, which also operates in Silicon Valley and Huntsville, Alabama, is developing a “network of satellites in medium Earth orbit that will provide secure, continuous, high-bandwidth communications between its clients’ low Earth orbit spacecraft and the ground.” [Virginia Business]

Fairfax County Sees Dip in Unemployment Rate — Fairfax County’s jobless rate dropped almost half a percent between December 2020 and January 2021, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission. However, unemployment rates throughout Northern Virginia are still more than double pre-pandemic numbers. [Sun Gazette]

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People whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may now be eligible to receive free job training from the Fairfax County Department of Family Services.

According to a news release published on Nov. 19, DFS will cover up to $1,000 in training costs for individuals who are looking to gain new skills in the high-demand industries of healthcare, information technology, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.

Anyone who lost a job due to the impact of COVID-19 and received unemployment benefits on or after Aug. 1 is eligible to apply, along with anyone who was laid off from a full-time job due to COVID-19 and now earns less than $15 per hour working part-time.

The offer of job training support comes as part of a Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative launched by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office on Oct. 30.

Funded by $30 million from the federal CARES Act, the REV initiative aims to mitigate the long-term economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing one-time $3,000 scholarships for workforce training.

The funds are being administered by the Virginia Community College System and localities in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which, combined, represented nearly 50 percent of all unemployment claims in the state as of the end of October, according to the governor’s office.

“Investing in programs that help people develop skills in high-demand fields is a win for workers, employers, and our economy,” Northam said. “As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, the new REV initiative will give Virginians the resources they need to get back on their feet and help ensure that our Commonwealth emerges from this public health crisis even stronger than we were before.”

The application deadline for the DFS program is Dec. 8, and training must be completed by Dec. 29.

People interested in applying should contact DFS REV Intake Specialist Ziyoda Crew at 571-536-1979 or email the department at [email protected]

Individuals can also apply for short-term training or certification programs at Northern Virginia Community College by certifying their eligibility for the REV initiative and registering for a training voucher by Dec. 14.

Photo via Bruce Mars/Unsplash

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Former Governor Eyeing Run for Seat — “Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe filed paperwork with the State Board of Elections Thursday to seek the governorship in 2021 but has not made a decision yet whether he will actually run for office. In the paperwork, McAuliffe listed himself as a Democratic candidate for governor.” [Patch]

Unemployment Update — “After two successive weeks of significant drops, initial claims for unemployment benefits increased slightly in Northern Virginia last week.” [Inside NoVa]

Traffic Alert for Gallows Road Over I-66 — “Installation of bridge beams for the new Gallows Road Bridge over I-66 will require reducing Gallows Road over I-66 to one travel lane in each direction from 11 a.m. Saturday, August 22, through 8 a.m. Monday, August 24.” [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Lender Could Seize Vienna Hotel — “A portfolio of 48 hotels nationwide, including one in Vienna and several others in Virginia and Maryland, could be seized in a $780 million foreclosure lawsuit.” [Washington Business Journal]

Unemployment Benefits Bump? — “Virginia is applying for federal funds made available by President Donald Trump to supplement state unemployment benefits by $300 a week, Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration said Wednesday.” [Inside NoVa]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Unemployment Claims Dip — “New claims for unemployment benefits filed by Northern Virginia residents fell last week to their lowest level since pandemic-related business shutdowns began, even as thousands of area residents continue collecting unemployment, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.” [Inside NoVa]

Capital One Fined for Data Breach — “Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF) will pay an $80 million fine and enter into a consent order with its regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, over issues related to a data breach in 2019 that exposed more than 106 million records of customers and credit card applicants.” [Washington Business Journal]

Two Activists Running for Falls Church Council Seat — “Two longtime City of Falls Church activists, Debbie Hiscott and Josh Shokoor, have been the only ones to announce so far they’ll be running for the now-open seat on the Falls Church City Council.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Latest Unemployment News — “The Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday that 5,279 Northern Virginia residents filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending June 20. That was down 9.2% from the preceding week and marks the 11th straight week of declines since a high of 47,708 claims filed in the week ending April 4. However, it is still 10 times pre-pandemic levels.” [Inside NoVa]

Finding the Funding — “McLean’s ID.me Inc. is raising new capital while riding a wave of momentum fueled by the pandemic. The digital identity management company has nabbed about $8.3 million out of a $12.5 million equity offering that began June 9, it reported in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sights Set on Space — “Los Angeles-based aerospace manufacturer Relativity Space announced Wednesday that McLean-based Iridium Communications Inc. has signed a contract to deliver up to six of Irdium’s satellites into orbit.” [Virginia Business]

New Merrifield Park — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board on June 24 approved initial scoping work to develop a new park on the eastern edge of Merrifield.” [Inside NoVa]

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