NOVA Named a 2023 Leader College by Achieving the Dream, Set to Receive $300K Grant to Diversify Nursing Pathways

February 16, 2023

NOVA is excited to be designated as a 2023 Leader College by Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing community colleges as hubs of equity and mobility in their communities. Recognizing the college’s role as the largest provider of talent in the region and its commitment to inclusive excellence, NOVA also recently received a $300,000 competitive grant to help the college expand its nursing program from ATD and the Brave of Heart Fund, which was established by the foundations of New York Life and Cigna and administered by E4E Relief.


The Northern Virginia region is projected to add 1,300 new healthcare jobs each year, on average, over the next 10 years. With this funding, NOVA seeks to meet the high demand for skilled healthcare workers by increasing the available nursing workforce in the region.

“NOVA is pleased to be recognized once again by Achieving the Dream for our leadership in advancing student success,” said Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA. “We are also grateful for ATD’s investment in our nursing program, which will diversify pathways into this in-demand career and increase the number of nurses serving our region.”

NOVA’s "Nursing—Empowering Educational Development for Success" (NEEDS) initiative will accelerate and diversify nursing pathways through a new stackable LPN to RN curriculum. This program will enable more nursing students to graduate in a shorter amount of time and will include a student support system for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and first-generation students.

“Our students showcase so much incredible talent, and we look forward to helping them become the next wave of healthcare practitioners this region needs,” said Dr. Shelly Powers, provost of NOVA’s Medical Education Campus. “This impactful grant will ensure that our students are ready to serve our community and the region.”


Leader Colleges like NOVA play an important role in accelerating the adoption of effective practices within the ATD Network and across higher education. They are recognized for the quality of their work in whole-college reform, resulting in increased completion rates for all students. Leader Colleges develop innovative ways to work with other colleges to share knowledge and facilitate an exchange of ideas about evidence-based reform strategies.

NOVA is part of the ATD Network, which is made up of 300+ colleges committed to advancing equity and supporting student success at their institutions and throughout their communities. The college has been a member of the ATD Network since 2007 and has held Leader College status since 2009.

About Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a partner and champion of more than 300 community colleges across the country. Drawing on our expert coaches, groundbreaking programs, and national peer network, we provide institutions with integrated, tailored support for every aspect of their work — from foundational capacities such as leadership, data, and equity to intentional strategies for supporting students holistically, building K–12 partnerships, and more. We call this Whole College Transformation. Our vision is for every college to be a catalyst for equitable, antiracist, and economically vibrant communities. We know that with the right partner and the right approach, colleges can drive access, completion rates, and employment outcomes — so that all students can access life-changing learning that propels them into community-changing careers.

Topics: press release, work in the community