A crowd of 236 educators and business leaders gathered at the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College on March 2, to celebrate the official grand opening of the Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training (RCWET), the first facility of its kind to offer a local solution for highly-specialized continuing professional education.
NOVA President Dr. Scott Ralls said the Regional Center will play a strategic role in creating a workforce to meet the technological demands of Northern Virginia’s businesses, government and military communities.
“This is an exciting day for NOVA and our partners who have made this center a reality,” Ralls said. “This state-of-the-art facility will allow workers in critical fields to strengthen their professional value in a continually-changing environment; ultimately increasing their job security and the viability of their organization. NOVA has a commitment to this community to provide the education and training to make this happen.”
“The Regional Center is not just a great regional asset, but also serves as a national security asset,” said Dr. Michael Wooten, Chairman of NOVA’s College Board. “This center is strategically located between Quantico and Fort Belvoir to serve the needs of federal and local government. The facility is a grand architectural triumph that will help us reflect and prepare students for an illustrious future.”
NOVA’s Workforce Development programs offer a wide array of non-credit certificate programs that allow attendees to gain entry-level skills to get into the workforce, to switch careers or to advance their careers in important fields. NOVA offers certificates in high-demand healthcare fields, information technology and cybersecurity, and many other areas that will be critical to the regional economy. In addition, NOVA works closely with local and regional employers to ensure those seeking certification in various fields are emerging with the exact skills needed to fill important regional jobs.
The 55,000 square-foot state-of-the-art building will serve as the epicenter of high-quality training and education delivery in the region. Training programs provided will include Cybersecurity, Healthcare, IT, and Program Management. The Regional Center also houses a Professional Testing Center and 7,500 square-foot conference center designed to host a range of events from industrial-type training, exhibits, trade shows, formal gatherings and special events. There is also a state-of-the-art “Cyber Range” that will allow NOVA to provide real-time, simulations of network attacks to train students to recognize and defend assets, as well as assess and certify hard skills competencies.
To secure funding from the Virginia General Assembly to build the $29 million center, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors contributed $1 million toward the facility. NOVA-Woodbridge Provost Dr. Sam Hill said the initial investment by Prince William County enabled Senator Charles Colgan and the Prince William Delegation to leverage $28 million from the Virginia General Assembly.
“Prince William County’s partnership with Northern Virginia Community College allows us to develop the workforce of tomorrow,” said John Jenkins, Supervisor, Neabsco District-Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “NOVA has been a staple in our community. It is an institution where young people just outside of high school often start their career path, as well as help seasonal professionals receive the education they need to provide the expertise necessary in today’s industries.”
In 2009, Chmura Economics & Analytics (Chmura) produced an assessment to determine the feasibility of constructing and operating the Regional Center in addition to analyzing the economic needs of local businesses. The study confirmed there was an immediate need to provide area employers and workers with the ability to expand their professional expertise and grow in pace with their industries.
“The main purpose of developing the RCWET was to serve the business community,” said Dr. Sam Hill. “To successfully complete this project, it needed to be business driven. In addition to conducting the feasibility study, a Workforce Development Center (WDC) Business Leaders Steering Council, was formed in 2012, consisting of business representatives from Prince William County and individuals involved in economic development. Each member played an active role in the overall building design and the specific programs RCWET would offer.”
Members of the WDC Business Leaders Steering Council included: Debbie Jones, President/ CEO, Prince William Chamber of Commerce; Robert Grasso, Vice President, Logis-Tech Inc.; Corey Stewart, Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; John Jenkins, Neabsco – District, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; David Hunn, President/CEO, The SkillSource Group, Inc.; Carlos Castro, President/Chief Financial Officer, Todos Supermarket; Tim Jackson, President, MDA Technologies Group; Mike Garcia, Owner, Mike Garcia Construction and Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development.
“The opening of the Regional Center further strengthens Prince William County’s value proposition and is happening at an opportune time as businesses are increasingly demanding, highly-skilled, qualified labor,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “Today, we are sending a strong signal to the business community that Prince William County has the leading credentials and tools to meet those needs and to ensure that they not only retain, but also increase their competitive advantage.”
For more on the Regional Center for Workforce Development and Training or on NOVA’s Workforce Development programs, visit http://www.nvcc.edu
Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.