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Navigating Wealth Building Program Helps Brighten Futures For Newport News Residents

NEWPORT NEWS—An informational meeting will be held on Monday, March 28 for Newport News residents who would like to improve their job skills and be able to jump start their careers and build a better future. The Navigating Wealth Building Program meeting will be held in two sessions, one at 10am and one at 1pm.

The Navigating Wealth Building Program was created for Newport News residents based on a study done in the southeast part of the city to see why so many residents are impoverished. The study found a number of barriers to good employment, some of which include lack of education, lack of transportation, inadequate childcare, legal issues, and more. The Navigating Wealth Program assists residents in achieving success and getting into the career of their choice.

The program provides employment and training services at the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center located at 550 30th St, Suite 102 in Newport News. The city’s Department of Development works with the Peninsula Regional Education Program (PREP) and a variety of partners to offer a comprehensive program that appeals to each person’s unique skills and interests while preparing them for success.

The free course will be held over a six-week period, from 9am to 4pm Monday through Thursday. It offers cohort-style (classroom) instruction that provides career readiness, job skills, and adult education. Those enrolled in the program can earn up to a $400 per week stipend for attending. The program is made possible from a TANF-based (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant and is available for anyone who falls under 200 percent below the poverty level or is TANF eligible.

“The informational meetings will be held to go over the program and see if people are interested in enrolling,” said Tasha Moss, program coordinator. “Whoever is interested can stick around after the meeting, we’ll go over some information with them, and prepare them for the next cohort.”

The next cohort, Cohort #14, begins on April 11. The program has been running since 2019 and actually ran through the pandemic.

“Personally, I have been with the program since Cohort #3 and it’s a great opportunity for people,” said Moss. “I feel like it’s one of the best-kept secrets in Newport News right now. We’ve had so many people come in from so many different walks of life. We have had refugees in the program. We have had people who are trying to start their lives over. I have someone in the cohort right now who worked for 20 years in security and decided she wanted to change her life. She’s ready to go into a financial management class because she wants to work in a bank and do financial management. That’s what this program is about. No two stories are the same.”

According to Moss, the training provided does not cover one specific job or career type. Attendees can receive training for any goal they’d like to achieve.

“We had someone come in who wanted to be an esthetician,” said Moss. “I had someone come in and say they wanted to be a veterinary assistant, and another was interested in becoming an audio engineer. If they want to be a medical assistant, we’ll get them into that program. If they want their CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), we get them into that program. Whatever they are interested in, we put them where they want to be.”

In addition to gaining career guidance and training in specific fields or jobs of interest, graduates from the program will also walk away with a Career Readiness certificate; OSHA 10 training, which teaches basic safety and health information to entry-level workers in construction and general industry; Northstar Digital Literacy skills, the basic skills needed to perform tasks on computers and online; and the program can also assist with getting attendees a GED and/or vocational training.

This is an on-going program and new cohorts will be forming soon. For those who cannot attend the informational meeting on March 28, there will be additional meetings on May 2 and May 9. Cohort #15 will begin on May 23.

The last day to register for Cohort #14 in April is Monday, March 28. Anyone interested in attending the informational meeting or signing up for the program should call 757-975-5305 to get registered, or fill out the Program Interest Form online.

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