SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — In pockets of one of Virginia’s fastest-growing cities, time has virtually stood still.
In southern Suffolk, councilman LeOtis Williams is concerned about his constituents. Many of them, he said, are homeless.
“A lot of people, it seems as though they have given up on themselves,” said Williams, who has served on Suffolk City Council for three years.
Help may be on the horizon. A local company, Coast Virginia Developers, has partnered with Paul D. Camp Community College to build a $5.6 million trade school at the site of a former supermarket off of Carolina Road that was last known as Farmer Joe’s.
“What we are doing here is to really focus in on what those workforce demands are,” said Dr. Corey McCray, president of Paul D. Camp Community College, “and make sure individuals have those skilled trades credentials that will allow them to walk directly into a job upon completion.”
Welding, electricity, plumbing, ship fitting, logistics, warehousing, and maritime coding are just some of the trades that will be offered. The college, which is accustomed to attending to the needs of non-traditional students, will take child care into consideration for parents who enroll in the program.
Coastal Virginia Developers donated the property, which is valued at $1.1 million. It neighbors the developer’s future Parkwood community, which will include multi-family housing for the workforce community. It’s a location and a situation deal, said Coastal co-president Matt Howard.
“The biggest opportunity is for the men and women graduating from high school and having an opportunity in the future,” Howard said.
Williams is hopeful the redeveloped property will chart a new course for his constituents.
“With this in here in our area, (it) will open some doors, some gates to see beyond what their everyday life is,” Williams said.
The college still needs another $1.1 million to seal the deal. Camp Community College hopes to welcome its first students to the new trade school in January 2025.