Northern Virginia Community College hosted the graduation of its first cohort of Uncommon Coders. The event was held Friday, April 28 at the Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training on NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus, 2645 College Drive, Woodbridge, Va.
Following a competitive application and interview process, this first cohort launched in early February. The group of ten students has spent 60 to 80 hours a week for the past 12-weeks in an accelerated on-site program designed to train veterans and give them the valuable coding skills they need to enter the very in-demand field of IT coding. Students have learned Java coding language, giving them the skills they need to move up in the information technology workforce. The program is focused on veterans, transitioning service members, military spouses and veteran spouses.
“The Northern Virginia Region is key in so many respects—technology, military families, government—there are just so many moving parts and players,” said NOVA President Scott Ralls. “NOVA and its regional partners are critical to ensuring that employer workforce needs are met with the most highly-trained personnel. Add to that the importance of making sure the needs of our nation’s veterans are served as they seek to move within and transition from their service to our country, Uncommon Coders is the perfect marriage.”
NOVA Workforce has partnered with the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) to work with local and regional employers to learn their workforce needs and to help meet them. The partnership resulted in publication of the Northern Virginia Workforce Needs Assessment which identified a strong demand for individuals with soft skills, coupled with technical skills in coding languages, such as Java. NOVA is taking an industry driven approach to ensuring employers have the talent pipeline they need to remain competitive in our regional economy.
“On behalf of our technology employer community, NVTC is honored to partner with Northern Virginia Community College on this important new effort to ensure the Northern Virginia region has a robust pipeline of highly skilled information technology workers,” said NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg. “Veterans have many of the soft skills our employers say they need. The coding knowledge they gain through the Uncommon Coders program will make these veterans ideal candidates for the jobs that our driving our regional economy.”
Uncommon Coders was developed to meet the growing demand for programming-related jobs in the D.C. metro area, while also equipping local talent with the skills they need to get hired. NOVA Workforce hired The Iron Yard, a nationally-recognized coding and programming boot camp provider to support instructional aspects of the program.
Businesses in the D.C. metro region are expected to add 22,000 new jobs in the technology sector over the next ten years, a figure that does not account for vacancies left by retiring workers. As of April 2017, there are more than 25,000 information technology vacancies in the region.
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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.