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United States Naval Community College Pilot Program Launches at NOVA

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), part of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS); University of Arizona; University of Maryland Global Campus; Alexandria Technical and Community College (MN), and the State University of New York System (SUNY Online), are prepared to offer world class education to Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman as part of the United States Naval Community College (USNCC) pilot program, scheduled for January through June of 2021.  

The newly established, USNCC will launch its pilot program this month, with nearly 600 students from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard participating in the Phase I program serving as a template for future USNCC students. NOVA will be serving 91 of these students.

“We are in an era of great power competition.  Any advantage we can achieve over an adversary will increase our warfighting prowess,” said Secretary of the Navy

Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Innovating solutions through improvement of critical thinking skills will only serve to give our leaders more flexibility in the effective and efficient deployment of our naval forces.”

Collaborating schools were notified in November of their selection to support the institution serving the tri-service maritime community.  Following the initial pilot program, a phase two pilot program is scheduled for 2022.

“We are very excited to get this innovative program underway,” said Dr. Randi Cosentino, president of the USNCC. “We are looking forward to working with top colleges and universities, to bring members of our maritime service community, programs that are going to be of high value to our armed services, and to help them achieve their educational goals.”  

The concept of the U.S. Naval Community College came out of a study seeking to identify opportunities to better prepare enlisted service members for the future and support them throughout their careers.  Areas of study during the pilot include the nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and military ethics. The Phase II portion of the pilot will expand those study areas.

“Now that we’ve identified our collaborating schools, we can move forward with our program to ensure we offer the best education to our service members and benefit all those involved,” Cosentino said. “The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC. Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.”

“It is imperative we have a more educated enlisted force, grounded in the understanding of current events, allowing them to add context to the actions they may be ordered to do,” said Braithwaite. “This will provide a critical advantage in any scenario, but specifically to the understanding of how they fit into our overall strategic goals and objectives.”

The USNCC is intended to serve all three services in the maritime domain, the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard.  Each of the services selected students to participate in the January pilot based on input from their chain of command.  For many service members, the prospect of obtaining higher education is a major enlistment or retention incentive.

“We have so much to be proud of throughout our military history and anything we can do to draw more attention to that through education has my enthusiastic support. There are many lessons to be learned and I have no doubt a better understanding of our origins will only contribute to the future successes of our Maritime services in any situation,” Braithwaite said.

Secretary Braithwaite was sworn in as the 77th Secretary of the Navy, May 29, 2020. He previously served as the 31st U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway. 

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Additional Information

  • For more information visit the USNCC on Facebook, LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter at @USNCC.
  • For more information on institutions under the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) that will be offering courses, contact Todd Estes, director for career education & workforce opportunities, at mestes@vccs.edu.
  • For more information about NOVA’s programming with respect to the USNCC initiative, contact Jack Bidlack, IET director of strategic initiatives, at jbidlack@nvcc.edu.
  • For press inquiries, please contact Jeff Kraus, VCCS assistant vice chancellor of communications, at jkraus@vccs.edu, or NOVA’s Public Information Officer, Hoang Nguyen at hdnguyen@nvcc.edu. 

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 NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.

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