Twenty-five students from Northern Virginia Community College graduated as the first cohort from the Year Up National Capital Region (NCR) – Woodbridge location, on July 29 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. NOVA-Woodbridge students Jasmine Baker, Michael Deberry Jr., Beemnet Dinare, Miguel Ephraim, Timothy Freeman, Christian Galvan, Lorena Garcia, Ajani Grant, Rania Jaffa, Reeyia Jaffa, RaVaughn Jones, Courtney Jones, Bushra Kabir, Bazal Kabir, Bishal Karki, Christopher Mallace, Delia Moran, Catherine Mosier, Rizvan Rashik, Mariah Spencer, Ibrar Tariq, Khalik Ware, Jacob Weintraub, Robin Williams and Sara Withrow completed the one-year intensive training program 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 careers. 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 on an internship with one of Year Up’s corporate partners. Year Up NCR-Woodbridge, also referred and named by students as Learning Community (LC) Limitless, launched its first cohort of students at NOVA-Woodbridge in August 2015.
LC Limitless students earned internships with regional corporate partners Capital One, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Fannie Mae, Hilton Worldwide and Symantec Corp. As interns, the 25 students worked as information security/splunk analysts, desktop support technicians, IT security specialists, network operations center (NOC) analysts and help desk specialists. They completed several tasks and career related projects ranging from computer systems configuration to installing software programs. Students also earned a stipend of up to $960 per month during their internship.
As a full-time NOVA student Jacob Weintraub said the partnership between NOVA-Woodbridge and Year Up is helping him to achieve an associate’s degree in cybersecurity. He discovered a desire to learn what he described as “the secrets” of being a skilled communicator and professional in the workplace, after he completed an internship at Symantec Corp in Herndon. His increased level of confidence inspired him to serve as the first student speaker representing Year Up NCR-Woodbridge at graduation.
“More than anything else in the world I wanted to be confident and organize my thoughts in order to build great communication habits,” Weintraub said. “I learned how to manage these goals, and my internship at Symantec helped to develop those skills. The best is yet to come. I have discovered a career that I plan to study further because I now have a passion for the cybersecurity field.”
Year Up NCR-Woodbridge Site Director Mariama Boney said the program is a partnership and exemplary model to cultivate a pipeline of IT and cybersecurity professionals in the DC metro region as well as create diversity in today's workforce. She added graduates of the program are making an average of $17 to $18 per hour, which generates 3 million dollars into the local economy within one year.
“The students who accepted the opportunity and challenge of Year Up as the first cohort are an inspiration and demonstrate the grit needed to reach their goals of a career in one year,” Boney said. “For each student to take an 18-credit course load during the fall semester with six months of professional training; then take six credits each spring and summer term plus a 40-hour per week internship; manage family responsibilities and participate in campus organizations is a significant accomplishment. They have emerged as empowered, professional, in-demand and career ready young adults.”
According to Boney, out of the 25 LC Limitless graduates, 23 students have less than 20 credits remaining to complete their associate of applied science or associate of science degrees at NOVA. Fifteen students have received job offers, six are currently undergoing job interviews and four students are planning to transfer to a four-year university.
After completing 30 college credits within two semesters at NOVA-Woodbridge, Courtney Jones said Year Up has motivated her to earn a degree in information technology and become a better student.
“I became interested in Year Up because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Jones said. “This program has impacted my life in such a way that I know what it takes to be a young professional. I know now what it means to push yourself to great extents. I went into the program feeling nervous and came out confident.”
Year Up has served more than 13,000 young adults and operates in 16 cities across the United States. Within four months of completing the program, 85 percent of graduates are employed full-time, making an average starting salary of $36,000 or more or continuing full-time education. For additional information about the Year Up application process contact the admissions department at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 703-884-1116 or visit their website.
Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | email@example.com
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.