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

The “What’s Next” program offers free training for a number of trade jobs. You just have to show up in person and sign up.

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

“We have the shipyard on-site hiring, Hampton Roads Transit on-site hiring,” said councilwoman Tina Vick.

All for the chance to sign up for 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 of receiving $1,000 along with resume help and job placement.

Alec Odems came out to take advantage of the free opportunity to change his career path. Odems currently works as a security officer at the shipyard.

“[I’m] here for the opportunity. You never know where your next blessing is going to come from. Just come out, show up and see what door can open up for you,” Odems told 10 On Your Side.

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

“Initiatives like this are what drive a decrease in violence in our communities. One young man came in and said, ‘Mr. Eley, I’ve been involved in illegal activities. I want a way out. I want to change’,” said program host 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.

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