NOVA Partners with Opportunity Scholars to Increase Access to Higher Ed and Critical Workforce Training 

April 1, 2024

(Loudoun, Va., April 1, 2024) —Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) President Anne M. Kress attended a signing event today, at the College’s Loudoun Campus to initiate an agreement between NOVA and Opportunity Scholars. The new partnership seeks to expand opportunities for students from lower- and middle-income families. Specifically, the partnership aims to help more students in the region obtain higher education and workforce training and to pursue high-paying, in-demand jobs in fields such as public service, healthcare, education, business, information technology and the skilled trades.

President Kress at Opportunity Scholars signing event

“NOVA is pleased to partner with Opportunity Scholars. This is just one more way that we are working to help individuals and families within our communities by providing additional pathways to success and a workforce that strengthens the region,” said President Kress.

Opportunity Scholars provides students and their families with job coaching, career readiness training and help seeking high-wage employment.

“The partnership between NOVA and Opportunity Scholars will help more students, many from diverse backgrounds, get a career and technical or two-year education,” said Fred Thompson, co-founder and vice chair of Opportunity Scholars and of Thompson Hospitality. “As a resident and business owner in Northern Virginia, we look forward to helping students succeed and bolstering our local workforce,” he said.

“Opportunity Scholars is thrilled to partner with the largest community college in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With NOVA’s vast programs in Healthcare, Accounting, Engineering, Teaching, Career and Technical trades, IT and many more career paths, Opportunity Scholars will work to provide more youth with a pathway to a great career,” said Rachel Schaefer, Opportunity Scholars chief executive officer and an instructor at a VCCS college.

Opportunity Scholars has engaged with nearly 600 students. More than 440 students have been coached, and an additional 150 are enrolled in the program. Of those enrolled, most attend a Virginia community college or plan to attend one after graduating high school. Loudoun County Public Schools is also participating.

The nonprofit partners with community colleges to help students secure lower-cost educational opportunities by enrolling them in VCCS programs that offer extra financial assistance, including G3 and FastForward. These state-funded initiatives help subsidize the cost of high-demand career credentials that benefit the regional economy.

In some cases, Opportunity Scholars will fund upfront educational costs, which students repay when they complete their education.


About Opportunity Scholars:
Opportunity Scholars connects families, schools and businesses to create a low-cost career pathway to high-paying jobs for low-/middle-income high school students creating economic mobility in underrepresented groups while building a pipeline of professional and technical workers to grow local businesses.

By connecting students, families, educators and businesses, Opportunity Scholars builds a pipeline of professional, career and technology workers to invigorate the local economy. Every student — regardless of life circumstances — will be empowered for success! Learn more about Opportunity Scholars at Opportunity Scholars — Home.

About Northern Virginia Community College:
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America’s largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, via NOVA Online and through high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website,, or call 703.323.3000.

Topics: press release