ReFraming The Issue: Pathways to Work

In Northern Virginia, 54 percent of employers report difficulty filling job openings, yet in Fairfax County, there are 30,000 underemployed or unemployed workers. Our April 9th ReFraming the Issue: Pathways to Work panel discussion addressed the urgent problems of regional unemployment and underemployment, exploring our collective responsibility and resources.

ReFraming the Issue is a quarterly series designed to shed light on the toughest challenges facing individuals and families in our communities and share insight into the ways Britepaths is working not only to meet immediate needs, but also to ignite long-term problem-solving and address systemic inequities across our region.

Sponsored and co-hosted by our friends at ReFrame Wealth in Fairfax City, this series launched last September and continued in April at the partner site of our newest workforce development program, Pathfinder Kitchen, at Mackenzie’s Tunes & Tonics.

Theresa Benincasa of the Fairfax County Dept. of Economic Initiatives began with an overview of regional employment trends, challenges faced by jobseekers, and Fairfax County’s workforce initiative: Talent Up Fairfax. Britepaths’ Executive Director Lisa Whetzel described how workforce development programs boost employability with certifications and relevant skills for better job prospects and security, supporting underserved communities with opportunities for all to thrive.

Recent program graduate Galyna Shalimova riveted the attendees with her personal story: Fleeing the war in Ukraine with her son, she came to Virginia and learned cloud computing with the help of Britepaths’ AWS re/Start program. With her IT certificate, she landed an internship and then a full-time role as a cloud analyst at technology consulting firm 11:59. Brad Sheridan, 11:59’s Vice President of Data Analytics, closed the panel describing his goal: that mentees like Galyna would become mentors for other unemployed and underemployed individuals as they enter a more inclusive workforce.

If you would like to learn about future ReFraming the Issue events, contact David Joyner at or 703.273.8829

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