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Northern Virginia Community College to Expand STEM Initiative to Northern Virginia Region

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) received a $1 million dollar commitment from the Virginia General Assembly for the next two years to expand its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiative throughout the Northern Virginia area. NOVA’s program, called SySTEMic Solutions, provides a pathway to employment or higher education with a degree in STEM-related fields.

The expansion will start in Loudoun County, and will eventually move to Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax school districts. 

“We face a critical shortage of scientists, engineers and technicians in Northern Virginia,” said NOVA President Robert G. Templin Jr. “At NOVA, we are excited to be able to enlarge the pipeline of students preparing to enter college and graduate with STEM degrees. Thus far, we have been able to reach over 1,000 students and we look forward to expanding these activities in school divisions across the region.”

Through SySTEMic Solutions, NOVA has created a collaborative arrangement among K-12 school divisions, higher education institutions, and employers to create a sustainable workforce pipeline that by the year 2015 will have more than 3,000 students preparing for STEM careers.

The model began in three local school divisions- Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County, with participation in the “Pathway to the Baccalaureate” college access and student success program.

The program is designed to align secondary to post-secondary STEM curriculum and program offerings; give students the opportunity to participate in dual enrollment courses with a STEM focus; provide STEM-focused activities/camps that stimulate student interest and awareness in advanced technologies; provide part-time employment and internship opportunities for students through support from industry partners; and provide professional opportunities for teachers of STEM curriculum.

Created in response to the region’s critical shortage of scientists, engineers and technicians, the program’s ultimate goal is to meet the demand for a trained workforce in advanced technologies. Students in SySTEMic Solutions are likely to be the first in their family who have considered college, and come from a moderate or lower income family. With multi-institutional collaboration at the secondary and post-secondary level coupled with collaboration among K-12 school divisions and industry, this key best practice is set to increase college success and completion rates amongst at-risk student populations.

For more information, contact Amy Harris at 703-257-6689 or aharris@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 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.