Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) was recently awarded a Go Virginia grant of $1.11 million following Governor Northam’s announcement that Virginia will allocate over $11 million to help advance economic recovery efforts across the Commonwealth. NOVA will apply the funds to implement the Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology (DEEP-IET) with a goal to develop regional workforce capacity in IET careers.
In broadening the conversation related to technology opportunities and partnerships across the state, NOVA will collaborate with the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA), the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority (LCEDA) and local school districts to improve the regional producing of IET talent by investing in faculty development and student support structures.
The grant allows for expanded programming to raise awareness of and access for underrepresented student populations in IET fields, supporting them with mentoring services, career readiness activities and internship opportunities with the goal of driving up graduation rates for students and creating highly-skilled talent to fill those positions.
GO Virginia’s Region 7 Council has identified cybersecurity, data center operations (DCO) and cloud computing as some of fields where the talent shortage is most acute. NOVA currently offers one-year career study certificates (CSCs) and two-year applied associate degree programs in these fields, and these programs were developed in collaboration with regional industry partners. Additionally, NOVA has CSC and two-year programs in engineering technology leading to in-demand jobs in manufacturing and critical infrastructure support services.
The DEEP-IET pilot program is structured as a block-scheduling model that combines class time, wrap-around services for students and valuable internships offering hands-on experience and mentorship from experts in the field. Furthermore, this model will help ensure regional capacity-building for IET by developing the region’s secondary school teachers into credentialed adjunct faculty members who can provide dual enrollment opportunities at regional high schools. It is expected the DEEP-IET program will create 288 additional graduates and 96 new internships and expand the number of certified dual enrollment teachers in the region by summer 2024.
The program roll-out will include:
- two summer bridge programs designed to recruit underrepresented students into NOVA's IET division, serving a total of 48 students per year. Bridge programs provide college credit for graduating high school students and will help orient them to career pathways in IET and student services on campus.
- a structured block-schedule for first semester IET students in cybersecurity, cloud computing or engineering technology. Block-scheduling places students in groups, or cohorts, during their first year with the same sequence and schedule of classes. Up to 48 students will be placed in cohorts each year, which will allow mentoring and advising to dovetail seamlessly with coursework, increasing student access to these services and ultimately student and graduate success.
- an internship and career readiness program for IET students between their first and second year of coursework in collaboration with local employers. These internships will also work to further NOVA’s goal of integrating academic coursework and work experience.
- a credentialing program to prepare regional high school teachers for teaching credit-bearing dual enrollment courses in information and engineering technology. Increasing the pool of credentialed dual enrollment instructors will strengthen regional capacity for introductory education in these fields beginning in high school.
- a veteran’s outreach program to transition NOVA veterans and military-connected students to IET programs. NOVA currently enrolls 734 military-connected students as General Studies majors. This program will coordinate veteran career workshops showcasing IET educational pathways and careers, serving the region and the nation.
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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 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.