Twenty-four students from Northern Virginia Community College graduated in the third cohort of Year Up National Capital Region (NCR) -Woodbridge. The graduation event was held Aug. 3 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus. The 22nd Year Up NCR graduating class of 103 young adults, which included the program’s Arlington and NOVA-Woodbridge sites, completed the one-year intensive training gaining valuable skills toward a career in cybersecurity or information technology.
Year Up is an award-winning, national 501(c)(3) organization that provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a combination of hands-on skill development, college credits and corporate internships with a focus on IT and/or cybersecurity. For the first six months of the program, students develop technical and professional skills in the classroom. During the second six months, students are then able to apply their professional and technical skills through an internship with one of Year Up’s corporate partners. Year Up NCR-Woodbridge, also referred and named by students as Learning Community (LC) Legacy, launched its first cohort of students (LC Limitless) at NOVA-Woodbridge in August 2015.
“NOVA is so fortunate to have Year Up as one of our most valued partners, and we are proud of the collective impact we have in providing an opportunity,” said NOVA President Dr. Scott Ralls. “I am pleased that so many Year Up graduates are NOVA students and alumni. I congratulate all graduates for your accomplishments and reaching this great milestone in your life’s journey.”
LC Legacy students earned internships with regional corporate partners Capital One, Selective Services System, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, CGI, Carlyle Group, Asurion, AOL, Inc., WGL Holding Inc., Navy Federal Credit Union, Salesforce.com Inc., Neustar and Symantec Corp. As interns, the 24 students worked as information security/splunk analysts, desktop support technicians, IT security specialists, network operations center (NOC) analysts and help desk specialists. They completed tasks and career related projects ranging from computer systems configuration to installing software programs.
As a full-time NOVA student, Grant Marshall said the partnership between NOVA-Woodbridge and Year Up is helping him to achieve an associate degree in cybersecurity. He discovered a desire to find his purpose in life after he completed an internship at Salesforce.com Inc. in Herndon as a security incident handler. During his six-month internship, he was named the Fiscal Year 2018 Quarterly All-Star for the first quarter. His increased level of confidence inspired him to serve as a student speaker representing Year Up NCR-Woodbridge at its graduation. He also received the 2017 Chris Mello Award for Leadership.
“I joined Year Up to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience in the cybersecurity field through an internship,” said Marshall. “At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue the program, but with support from family and friends I decided to enroll. I can’t count the number of times I had to decide whether to put gas in my car or eat, or whether to attend my internship with only two to three hours of sleep. Despite my struggles, next May I will graduate from NOVA with a degree in cybersecurity and plan to transfer to a four-year university. I will also remain at Salesforce, now full-time in the same role as I continue my education. Year Up gave me direction and an opportunity to prove myself.”
Year Up has served more than 17,500 young adults and operates in 16 cities across the United States. Within four months of completing the program, 90 percent of graduates are employed full-time, making an average starting salary of over $36,000 or are continuing full-time education. For additional information about the Year Up application process contact the admissions department at email@example.com, call 703-884-1116 or visit their website.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.