Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) continues to make strides toward the greater Washington area’s growing need to have educated and highly-skilled employees in the cybersecurity and IT fields. Twenty-three students from NOVA graduated in the fourth cohort of Year Up National Capital Region (NCR) -Woodbridge. The graduation event was held on Jan. 26 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus. The 23nd Year Up NCR January graduating class of 99 young adults, which included the program’s Arlington and NOVA-Woodbridge sites, completed a 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 Leaders Initiating Tomorrow (LIT), launched its first cohort of students (LC Limitless) at NOVA-Woodbridge in August 2015.
Born in Alaska to Korean immigrants, NOVA student Richard Shin initially believed Year Up would help him learn how to work in a corporate environment. Yet, he discovered a desire to find his purpose in life after he completed an internship at Capital One. Shin increased level of confidence inspired him to serve as a student speaker representing Year Up NCR-Woodbridge at its graduation.
“Year Up has taught me to face myself,” Shin said. “Of course, I’ve had my share of hardships that I overcame, just like everyone else. Throughout life, I haven’t always made the best decisions. My time with Year Up has made me learn the truth about myself. I refuse to stop improving, simply because I am not satisfied with how far I’ve climbed. It’s your responsibility to determine when you have reached your peak. I graciously thank Year Up and my fellow classmates for this amazing experience.”
Leaders Initiating Tomorrow students earned internships with regional corporate partners Capital One Financial Corporation, CGI, Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Intersections Inc., Williams & Connolly, FINRA, Fannie Mae, Carlyle Group, Asurion, Leidos and Symantec Corp. As interns, the 23 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.
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
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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.