700 participants needed for free rapid training career program

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — If you’re looking to start a career in manufacturing, construction and labor, or community health, the regional workforce development council wants you to be a part of its free rapid training program.

It’s called the Future of Work Grand Challenge and is a partnership between the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, JFF, XPRIZE, and Rise.

The challenge is a national competition working with regions to develop innovative training approaches to connect job seekers and displaced workers impacted by the pandemic.

The program will build new skills for those looking for new employment as well as move them into high-wage careers.

Christian Brooks, senior director of next-gen programs and special programs at Virginia Career Works, says there will be three training tracts in the program-manufacturing, construction and labor, and community health care.

“This is a fantastic opportunity,” she said. “These were selected because these three industries have a wide variety of jobs right now.”

Virginia Career Works is a workforce development and employment center, which has been busy this last year trying to connect those looking for jobs with those hiring.

“We saw a lot of jobs that were furloughed or unfortunately eliminated during the pandemic. The workforce council has been helping individuals connect with employers and training provides throughout this entire pandemic. We’re excited to offer additional resources,” Brooks said.

The program is looking to recruit 700 people to participate in the program. Brooks says the courses range from four to ten weeks starting with a cohort on May 10.

You must be 18 or older to apply and not have a college degree.

Brooks says you also must be unemployed or underemployed.

She added that programs like this are important.

“One, they provide equitable opportunities for individuals, who have the need to access training. Two, these are going to be offered in a short amount of time. They can enroll, get started, and be out in 12 weeks or less leading into positions that start between $12-15 an hour,” she said. “It’s so important to have these solutions for individuals to get started as soon as possible, start earning those family-sustaining wages, and launch fruitful careers.”

Hampton Roads was one of six regions selected for the national challenge. Brooks says there’s a good reason why.

“We’re a great place to live and work and build our careers. We have a resilient workforce. We have a wide variety of industries seeking to hire right here, right now in Hampton Roads for individuals to get the training and have that excellent opportunity,” she said.

Brooks says that applications are selected on a rolling basis until the last week of June. Different cohorts will be starting from May to July.

To learn more or to apply, click here.