HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is one of the 509 applicants for the Good Job Challenge offered by the Biden administration. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council was one of the 32 winners of the grant. Representative Bobby Scott helped secure an $11 million dollar grant.

The Good Job Challenge grant focuses on job development in Hampton Roads.

“They need hope. The community needs hope. This gives us a little bit of hope,” Champagne Hill, a career service specialist, said.

Hill said that is hope that a job gives.

With unemployment dropping in Virginia, more people are looking for a job. In Hampton Roads, a good chunk of jobs involves water. The maritime industry offers high-paying jobs but they require skill.

“People can’t find jobs because they don’t have the skills. The skills a lot of times take a couple of weeks to acquire and if you don’t have that job training available, you won’t be able to get the real good jobs,” Rep. Scott said.

The grant focuses on maritime employment and providing the critical training necessary. Hampton Roads is expected to have 11,000 maritime positions.

With proper training, Rep. Scott said people that need a job could make a healthy living.

“In the maritime industry, particularly, shipbuilding has a lot of high-skilled jobs. Welders, shipbuilders, a lot of the high-paying jobs, but you have to have the job training to get those jobs,” he said.

The Good Job Challenge grant will supply money to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council that operates the Virginia Career Works Hampton Center.

The Virginia Career Works Hampton Center is where Rep. Scott toured Wednesday.

The center offers resume workshops, job training, access to computers and networking workshops.

Shawn Avery, the President and CEO of Hampton Roads Workforce Council, said the tools directly equate to a stronger Hampton Roads.

“The backbone of a successful economy is the workforce talent traction, talent retention and the growth of our talent,” he said.

The workplace services helped Hill. For two years, she cared for her mother and small child. It forced her to exit the workplace. Once she wanted to jump back in, she found it harder than expected.

“It’s a full-time job trying to find a job,” Hill said.

With the help of the center, she used the resources available and what she calls soft skills to land a job.

“Transferable skills they will teach you to have those soft skills they implement to you. You will be able to go where you want to go,” she said.

Now, she is just where she wants to be. She works for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. Hill said she gives back to a place that helped her.

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