Newport News opens new workforce, STEM center

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The City of Newport News will use a federal grant for the new workforce development center at Brooks Crossings (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority)
(WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority)

NEWPORT NEWS — The city recently cut ribbon for the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center a workforce development and STEM Education Center.

“The workforce development initiatives and innovation taking place at the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center are critical in developing a 21st century talent pool,” said Mayor McKinley Price. “The investment here, as well as broader investments within the community, will help to create an ecosystem in which individuals and businesses can receive the support necessary to build a foundation for long-term success.”

The building, located in the southeast community of the city, is approximately 105,000 square feet — the top three floors will house offices for 600 Newport News Shipbuilding employees in the information technology, engineering and design and integrated planning and production control departments, according to the city’s news release.

The bottom floor is the innovation and opportunity center and is divided among the city’s Economic Development Authority, Old Dominion University and the Newport News Shipbuilding.

All three entities are leasing the building space from the Southeast Commerce Center Associates, a partnership with former NFL player and Newport News native Aaron Brooks and Armada Hoffler Properties, a private developer based in Virginia Beach.

The Brooks Crossing Opportunity Center is geared toward workforce development and will have resources such as case management, job fairs and other support services while the STEM Digital Innovation and Fabrication Lab will offer hands-on learning for students, parents and the public interested in learning about digital technology.

The lab is a partnership between the city, the EDA, ODU and NNS.

“Brooks Crossing brings important learning opportunities to people who want to grow and it is this kind of community outreach that defines who we are as a company,” said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. “It gives us the opportunity to grow a new generation of computer engineers, data scientists, mathematicians and shipbuilding leaders from right here in our own backyard.”

It’s unclear how much the construction cost and Armada Properties was not immediately available for comment.

The workforce development part of the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center, 550 30th St., is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RELATED STORY: City gets grant for new workforce center, which opens this spring

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