More than 370 people enroll in trades courses through the “What’s Next” program

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A new job training program at Newport News is helping people double their salaries while preparing them for the future.

The “What’s Next” program provides free training for a number of commercial jobs. All you have to do is show up in person and register.

Nearly 400 people came to Monday’s open house at Brooks Crossing. The number of participants on Monday was a program record.

“We’ve got shipyard on-site hiring, Hampton Roads Transit on-site hiring,” Councilwoman Tina Vick said.

All for the chance to enroll in free 4-6 week courses in a variety of trades like phlebotomy, plumbing, HVAC, welding, and culinary arts. Participants who complete a course also have the chance to receive $1,000 as well as help with resuming and a job placement.

Alec Odems came out to take advantage of the free opportunity to switch careers. Odems currently works as a security officer at the shipyard.

“[I’m] here for the occasion. You never know where your next blessing will come from. Go out, show yourself and see what door can open for you,” Odems told 10 On Your Side.

The goal, according to city leaders, is to transform and strengthen the community.

“Initiatives like this are what lead to less violence in our communities. A young man came in and said, ‘Mr. Eley, I have been involved in illegal activities. I want an exit. I want to change,” said program facilitator and NNPS school board member John Eley.

The What’s Next Open House is held every other Monday at Brooks Crossing, located at 550 30th Street, at 5 p.m.

For more job opportunities in your area, visit for the latest hiring events.

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