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Educational Spotlight: John Ruffino, Executive Director, NVCC Education

  • John Ruffino

John Ruffino, Executive Director, NVCC Education

Our role at the NVCC Educational Foundation is to work with the SySTEMic team to build partnerships with the business community and identify potential sources of funding to enhance the work of the program. The Foundation also serves as the fiscal agent for the program -- processing all gifts and paying all invoices related to SySTEMic Solutions.

STEM education holds the key to future economic and job growth. Without the proper training in STEM fields to create and maintain jobs for the workforce, business cannot remain competitive in a global economy. In order for businesses to grow, they need a skilled workforce. If we don’t have that in our region, companies will either leave and go to where there is a trained pool of workers or new businesses will not relocate here.

SySTEMic Solutions is valuable because it provides the means and opportunity for young people to learn about STEM, creating opportunities for them that were seriously limited before the advent of the program. Through STEM Camps, Career Exploration, and many other facets of the program, students are unlocking talents that they didn’t know they had. This process leads to new horizons for students of all ages and backgrounds to not only gain vital STEM skills but also learn the importance of teamwork and problem solving.

I hope that each passing year, the camps will continue to expand so that any student who wants to learn more about science and hands-on problem solving will have that opportunity. These camps can and will change lives and the futures of many of the students who participate.

Much of the ROI is intangible for the near term as students move through the pipeline. The larger payoff will occur when these students move into STEM programs at the high school and college level. When they are ready to enter the workforce, then we will see an increase in productivity and greater stability in the economy as businesses become more profitable and reinvest in the community.

I love what we do at the NVVC Educational Foundation. We have a chance to literally change lives by providing opportunities to students from all walks of life. Our faculty and staff work tirelessly to help our students succeed. The Foundation plays a part in providing funding, scholarships and seed money to get projects off the ground -- projects that may not otherwise gain funding given the budget constraints of the College. http://www.nvcc.edu/foundation/index.html