NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The “What’s Next” program is an opportunity to learn a new trade.

It is free, and when you complete some of the courses, you can get $1,000.

Newport News School Board member John Eley is one of the organizers. Eley tells 10 On Your Side people can have high-paying careers in four to six weeks.

The classes are offered through the Fast Foward program in Virginia and a partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College.

“We have phlebotomy, we have nursing programs, we have administrative assignments. We have HVAC, we have welding, we have CDLs which has been one of our greatest hits,” Eley said.

Algernon Ellison graduated in 2020. His mother convinced him to sign up when she heard about the free classes.

“It’s the best program. I saw the opportunity, I took it,” said Algernon.

He went through the CDL course.

“Right now, I have my CDL permit,” he said.

His mother, La’Cole Ellison, is so proud of her son.

“He did it within a week or so. [He] completed all the classes and ended up with a class B,” explained Ellison.

Now he plans to get his license in June so he can hit the road. He has big goals.

“I’ll have four trucks by the time I’m 30,” said Algernon.

He said offers like this don’t come around often.

“I’m from Lincoln Park, I don’t really like talking about it. A lot of past trauma but I’m thankful I got over it,” he said.

Eley said nearly 300 people have been helped so far.

“A lot of times when they go get help, they hear the word no. Through our program, we like to make them have an easy way of saying yes,” Eley said.

Another open house and sign up opportunity is set for June 6.