December 23, 2020
Sheilah Parker quit her job in Hampton to move to Texas to care for her mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
About a year and a half later — just before the pandemic hit — she moved back to Newport News. As the coronavirus closed many of the businesses in the state and across the region, she had a hard time finding a job.
Newport News launched the CARES Workforce Assistance Program in mid-September using federal funding to help people like Parker, who were unemployed or underemployed because of the coronavirus. It offered free workforce development training in industries that are in critical need of employees, and required the employers to pay at least $13.50 per hour. The training was offered in the healthcare, information technology, maritime, truck driving, and construction and trades industries.
The city hoped to enroll 215 city residents, but got 23 more than that.