Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:

Adult Career Pathways

Adult Career Pathways (ACP) provides adult students with a support system specifically designed to assist them navigating the unique challenges they face while attending college.

adult career pathways logo

Participants receive ongoing support and guidance through each step of their college experience. The key to ACP’s success is its student-centered model, which builds an ongoing relationship between students and their counselors, faculty members and peers.

The ACP program is designed to serve adult students with demonstrated barriers to college access and success, including veterans, single parents, lower-wage workers, work-eligible immigrants and unemployed and underemployed individuals. ACP creates a pathway for adult students to earn a certificate, degree or other credential that may help them secure a better job with a path toward advancement and greater economic security.  

The program is free to participating students.


ACP Career Counselors help participants:

  • Identify career goals and pathways to achieve them.
  • Learn about programs and opportunities available through NOVA.
  • Develop an individual plan of education, training or other program(s).
  • Navigate the procedures necessary to attend NOVA classes and apply for financial assistance.
  • Assess their skills and experience.

What is unique about this program?

  • ACP gives adult students who could otherwise find adult studies difficult to pursue access to NOVA.
  • Students receive personalized assistance from a NOVA Career Counselor to help them achieve their career goals.
  • Counselors continue to assist students pursuing their career plan for up to three years.
  • Participants can access their counselor via phone, email, in-person at community locations and on NOVA campuses.

Program Achievements

You can view the ACP program dashboard report for updated information about the ACP program's performance in helping participants achieve their career education goals and ACP projects.

Hear From Current ACP Students

Two Adult Career Pathways students share their personal experience with the program:

Erica is a student with unbelievable perseverance. She has made it on her own since she was teen, but knew she wanted to continue her education. When faced without the support of her family in the U.S. and while balancing her academic and career goals, she took on the challenge of beginning college coursework. Though she faced challenges she thought she'd never make it through when applying for financial aid, the Adult Career Pathways program has helped her to succeed. She has been very successful at NOVA and is looking forward to transferring to George Mason University next year. She sees Adult Career Pathways as her beacon of hope and looks forward to giving back to others in her future career.

Carolina is a single mom who needed to further her education in order to advance her career with Fairfax County Public School’s Head Start program. She faced adversity with financial aid and academic divisions due to challenging life circumstances when she previously attended NOVA. With help from her ACP counselor, Carolina was given a second chance to receive financial aid funds and renew her academic record. She is now a wonderful role model for her children, several colleagues who have also become ACP students and others who hear her story of success. Carolina has completed her Career Studies Certificate in Phlebotomy and is close to completing her A.A. in Liberal Arts at NOVA. She plans to transfer to GMU after completing her degree so she can pursue a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She wants to inspire and assist others in pursuing their career and education goals.

ACP gratefully acknowledges our investors: NOVA President’s Office, Innovation Fund, The Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Bank of America, PNC Foundation, NOVA Educational Foundation, The Virginia Community College System’s Rapid Response Assistance Program for Veterans’ Employment and The U.S. Department of Labor.

Current ACP Students

ACP offers regularly scheduled workshops for ACP Students.

Financial Aid Workshops

Financial Aid Workshops allow ACP staff to assist students with applying for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a small group setting. Most students complete their initial FAFSA at the College Access Workshop. Each subsequent year, ACP students are required to attend a FAFSA Workshop lead by ACP staff to update and resubmit their application for the new school year. Workshops are typically scheduled between March and June.

Important Details

  • Your taxes for the previous year must be filed electronically three to four weeks in advance of attending a workshop or six to eight weeks in advance for paper filing.
  • If you are a permanent resident, you must bring your green card with you to the workshop..
  • If you have submitted a FAFSA application in the past, you will need to bring with you the FSA ID and password that you created. If you are unable to remember or locate your FSA ID, please go to this page this page to request or create FSA ID.
  • Many ACP participants may qualify for free tax assistance. Learn more.

Note: NOVA has no affiliation with the tax services offered and does not endorse any tax preparation service over another.

Student Success Workshops

During Student Success Workshops ACP staff share Academic Success tips with students, guide students through the MyNOVA website, and assist them with selecting and registering for courses.

Student Success Workshops are scheduled throughout the year. ACP students are required to attend.

Attending Workshops

Please be considerate of your fellow students and arrive on time. If the workshop has already started when you arrive, you may be asked to attend another workshop at a later date.

We hope to see you soon at a workshop!

Web Presentations

ACP has developed a variety of presentations to help students succeed at NOVA. New ACP students must complete the Placement Testing presentation and the Financial Planning presentation before attending Adult Career Pathways Orientation. Additional presentations will be available to provide important information to students. Each presentation has a code word embedded in the audio that you will be required to submit to your advisor.


NOVA’s Adult Career Pathways Program connects participants with NOVA career counselors who assist them in developing an education or training plan to earn a credential career advancement and greater financial security.

The Adult Career Pathways program holds monthly Workforce Access Workshops where students may apply to participate in the program. The workshops provide potential students with assistance developing an individual education/training plan, applying for financial aid, completing a NOVA application, and learning about opportunities available to them at NOVA.

Students continue to receive assistance from a Workforce Access Counselor until they are ready to register for their first classes or training program. When they are ready to register, they begin to work with a Success Counselor who remains their counselor for up to three years.

Additional Resources:

About Our Partners

ACP works actively with a number of public and private community partners. Some of our partners offer job or workforce training programs that allow their students to co-enroll at NOVA and receive college credit for their studies. Other partners are community-based organizations that are actively engaged in referring likely students to NOVA and the ACP program. Some of our more involved partnerships for co-enrollment or referral are described below.

Computer Core

Computer CORE’s mission is to help low-income adults acquire the technological and life skills they need to pursue their career aspirations. CORE offers a six-month computer training course that helps students learn computer basics: keyboarding; working with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; using email and the Internet. By the end of the course, students have the skills and tools to achieve greater career success and lifelong self-sufficiency. Ninety three percent of CORE students graduate and start new careers, receive promotions and go on to advanced education programs. Completion of Computer CORE can earn students up to 7 NOVA credits.

Fairfax County - Neighborhood & Community Services

Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) engages, connects and collaborates with individuals, organizations, neighborhoods and communities to strategically plan and provide responsive services and build capacity to support community and neighborhood solutions.

Fairfax County Public Schools - Adult High School Completion Programs

Adult High School Completion Programs give students who are over 18 years old and who do not have a high school diploma from the U.S. or another country a chance to meet all requirements for a Fairfax County Public Schools high school diploma, GED or National External Diploma (NED).

Many of the programs are in the evening. Several students have full-time jobs and study full or part time. Adult High School Completion offers three ways to earn a high school credential. FCPS Adult Completion Programs will help you choose the right one for you.

Goodwill of Greater Washington

Goodwill of Greater Washington (GGW) works closely with local employers to develop in-depth programs that prepare people for jobs in specific industries, such as banking, building maintenance and environmental services, retail and construction. In addition to formal classroom training, GGW often prepares clients for permanent jobs through a combination of supported, temporary or transitional employment at a Goodwill facility or in the community. Completion of Goodwill can earn students up to 5 NOVA credits.

Nonprofit NoVA

The mission of Nonprofit NoVA is to build the strength, visibility and influence of the nonprofit sector in Northern Virginia. Members share a commitment to a decent and meaningful quality of life for residents of Northern Virginia. Nonprofit NoVA is an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington. Members serve residents in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. Member organizations are encouraged to promote the ACP program to qualified clients.

Training Futures

The Training Futures curriculum teaches computer skills, business English, business math, keyboarding, filing, professional development workshops, medical terminology and business communication skills. Trainees receive performance reviews and are expected to dress professionally, arrive on time, complete office assignments and interact professionally with staff and fellow trainees. Trainees are also provided one-on-one support during their job search with assistance in resume-writing, interviewing and business etiquette.

In addition, trainees gain valuable direct business work experience through the internship program. This program provides interns to local businesses and hospitals within the community, who can provide an environment that supports additional exposure for trainees. Completion of Training Futures can earn students up to 17 NOVA credits.

SkillSource Group

The Skill Source Group’s mission is to facilitate and enhance the employability of individuals seeking employment, and employer access to a qualified workforce. Using free employment services, clients may to find a rewarding career and gain skills to be successful in the workplace.

Employment services can be found at any One Stop or SkillSource Center in Northern Virginia. At these centers, clients find a variety of events and workshops for preparing a resume and having an interview. Other services include personalized counseling, skills assessment and free access to fax machines and the Internet.

Resources from Our Partners

Special Initiatives


The ACP program, in collaboration with the SkillSource Group, offers special services to currently unemployed, honorably discharged service members, including; job placement assistance after credential completion, additional funding options, and assistance with prior learning assessment of military training for college. This initiative is funded by the Virginia Community College System’s Rapid Response Assistance Program for Veterans’ Employment.

ACP’s Success Advisor, Trasi Watson, is assigned to this initiative. Prior to coming to NOVA, Trasi worked as an academic advisor and program manager for the TRiO program at Guam Community College where she helped first generation college students and low-income families gain access to higher education opportunities. While overseas, she volunteered and worked as an academic counselor in the Navy College office. In addition, Trasi worked two years in the Yokosuka Fleet and Family Support Center providing life skills trainings.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

ACP is part of a national consortium of various community college and workforce development training organizations dedicated to preparing students for careers in STEM fields. This Credentials to Careers initiative is funded by the Department of Labor. One component of the initiative matches students with internships in their field of study.

ACP’s Success Advisor, Erika Coddington, is assigned to this initiative. She specializes in credentials and careers in the field of Information Technology. Erika has more than 10 years of experience working with student success in higher education. Her background includes; development of multiple student success webinars, launching initiatives on peer mentoring, first-year experience, time management, and mentoring, and tutoring support for returning adult students.

Early Childhood Education

Thanks to the support of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the ACP program launched an initiative in the summer of 2012 focusing on the field of Early Childhood Education. As part of the initiative ACP partnered with multiple early child care centers and county Head Start locations and NOVA’s workforce training partner.

ACP’s Success Advisor, Theresa Gentile, is assigned to this initiative. She specializes in credentials and careers in the field of Early Childhood Education. Before ACP, Theresa joined AmeriCorps through the Virginia College Advising Corps to work as an advisor with first-generation college students. She served the NOVA-Alexandria Campus for two years, supporting students in the transfer process to four-year schools. Theresa also interned with the Denver Scholarship Foundation assisting their leadership team in student retention efforts.

Dual Generational Initiative

With continued support by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, NOVA’s College Pathway Initiatives (CPI) works to create systemic impact through partnerships with early childhood educational providers to enhance post-secondary educational attainment of low-income mothers and early childhood care providers. While creating pathways out of poverty for female-led families, CPI simultaneously aims to improve the quality of early childhood education at partner centers through increased training and credentialing.
In addition to high-touch, case management support at school and in the community for student-parents, CPI provides direct and in-direct college readiness activities and services to children of student-parents and partner early childhood development centers. CPI’s Dual Generational Initiative utilizes a three-pronged approach that is designed to address the roles of student, parent, and /or educator.
A variety of staff from two of NOVA’s College Pathway Initiatives programs, Adult Career Pathways and Pathway Connection, collaboratively work on the Dual Generational Initiative.

Helpful Information