Educating Youth Through Employment

NOVA’s Workforce Development Division attended the recent EYE (Educating Youth through Employment) Appreciation and Awards Ceremony earlier this month. Held by The SkillSource Group, the event celebrated the youth and the employers who participated in the EYE program – a summer initiative that recruits, screens and matches youth ages 18-21 with professional opportunities in the private and public sector, and with other local businesses. SkillSource, in coordination with Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services, has successfully implemented this employer-driven summer employment initiative since 2006.

These young adults are required to attend intensive training workshops before and during their work experiences. The EYE program offers local youth more than just a summer job, but rather an exciting, professional opportunity with training that will allow them to explore a career path that matches their interest. (SkillSource Group)

It was pleasing to see the number of employers who chose to give back to the community by hiring youth this summer. A considerable number of the EYE program participants will be attending Northern Virginia Community College. NOVA Workforce Development representatives met with the students and provided insight into courses and programs available to help the students meet their future goals.

Congratulations to SkillSource, the EYE Program employers, and all the community partners, but most importantly congrats to this year’s EYE Program participants.


SkillSource Group EYE program | Educating Youth through Employment

Joe Matope is a Business Development Manager with NOVA Workforce Development Division, and works with employers to develop and deliver customized training solutions for their staff. For more information about NOVA Workforce Development Division’s collaboration with SkillSource Group, contact Joe at

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STEM Career Fair: September 2015

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is on everyone’s minds these days, since cybersecurity is at the forefront of technological trends and our area is ripe for IT development.

Great things are happening both in the government and private sector in northern Virginia, and Northern Virginia Community College is pleased to answer the demand for well-trained IT professionals. This September, NOVA Workforce will be holding our second STEM Career Fair, aimed at students, veterans, and both entry-level and experienced IT professionals.

Prior to the career fair, career counselor Edythe Richards will be holding a free workshop for those interested in polishing their resume and interview skills in preparation for the Career Fair.

Save the date:

September 14, 1-4 PM: Resume and Interview Prep workshop

September 30, 10 AM – 2 PM: STEM Career Fair
(Registration is required; call 703-323-3281 or email

Both events will be held at NOVA’s Annandale Campus, at the Ernst Community Cultural Center.

STEM Career Fair, Northern Virginia Community College

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Governor McAuliffe’s Latino Summit and Executive Order 20

On Wednesday, August 5, three people from NOVA’s Workforce Development Division attended Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Latino Summit, held at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus. Over 300 people attended, including key business, education, state, and local leaders.

The summit focused on the role the fast-growing Hispanic population plays in building a new Virginia economy. Breakout sessions featured topics of interest to businesses, community organizations, and educators; Workforce Development Division staff participated in two sessions:

Growing Your Businesses with the Commonwealth: The Department of General Services (DGS) provided an overview of Virginia’s eProcurement Portal (eVA) and demonstrated how businesses can register with the Commonwealth. The newly formed Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) gave an overview of how they can better assist Latino businesses in Virginia’s procurement opportunities. In addition, SBSD highlighted Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order 20, which advances equity for small, women and minority owned businesses (SWaM).

Empowering Latino Success Through Higher Education and Workforce Development: The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) gave an overview of the students in Virginia attending college on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status. In addition, Northern Virginia Community College highlighted articulation agreements between Community Colleges and 4 year Universities, and provided an overview of the Governor’s workforce initiative and his goal of increasing credentials by 50,000.

BLOG  | Workforce Development Division attends Governor McAuliffe's Latino Summit, August 5, 2015

Top: Governor McAuliffe recieved a standing ovation for his keynote speech.
Bottom: the Governor visited the NOVA Workforce Development Division table.

Governor McAuliffe was the keynote speaker for the summit, stating that his Administration is dedicated to developing and implementing policies for economic development, health care and education across the Commonwealth, and making sure the thriving Latino community is included.

“It is imperative that we have input from members of the Latino community if we plan to continue to build a new Virginia economy that our families and loved ones deserve.”

The Latino community, along with other small businesses, women-owned, businesses, and minority-owned businesses (all are considered part of SWaM businesses in Virginia), fuels a large part of Virginia’s economy, and Governor McAuliffe is dedicated to ensuring that these small businesses have a chance to compete with larger corporations in Virginia.

Executive Order 20:
Advancing Equity For Small, Women, And Minority Owned Businesses

In July 2014, Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 20, Advancing Equity for Small, Women, and Minority Owned Businesses, which requires state agencies to award at least 42 percent of contracts to SWaM businesses. The text of the Executive Order begins:

It is imperative for the Commonwealth of Virginia to maximize the participation of small businesses in state contractual work. For Virginia to remain competitive and continue to advance its small business goals, significant work still must be done for a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive process. Therefore, I am establishing a micro business designation within the small business certification and vital new state procurement initiatives.

With Commonwealth executive branch agencies urged to spend at least 42 percent of their budgets with SWaM businesses, the economy remains robust and competitive. For fiscal year 2013, SWaM businesses captured 34.8 percent ($2.03 billion) of the $ 5.83 billion total spent with contractors. In fiscal year 2014, the total capture was 32.3 percent ($1.81 billion).

As part of his keynote speech, Governor McAuliffe criticized Republican efforts to wipe out President Obama’s executive order that allows millions of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here and work—legally.

They talk about how some of our brightest students in the Commonwealth should be deported. Let me be very clear: I am one hundred percent against that. We should not be deporting any of our talent.

Attendees applauded the focus on better jobs and opportunities for Virginia’s Latino residents, and keeping talented, hard-working individuals here to help drive the economy forward.

Governor McAuliffe visited attending vendors, including NOVA WDD, and thanked everyone for their service to the Latino community, health, education, and Virginia’s economic development. We established connections with several attendees and learned about outreach opportunities with Northern Virginia businesses and social services organizations. We are looking forward to many more upcoming events and networking opportunities, and to next year’s Summit.


NOVA Workforce Development Division | Blog
Northern Virginia Community College’s Workforce Development Division is dedicated to improving Northern Virginia’s economic development and business landscape with a comprehensive variety of training options, including Professional Development, Certificate Programs, Enrichment Courses, Continuing Education, and Customized Training. Visit us online to learn more.

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6 Emotionally Intelligent Ways to Ace a Job Interview

Face it: good looks and book smarts aren’t going to get you hired.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is what pays off in the job market. EQ is an intangible skillset that affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make decisions to achieve positive results. EQ is seen as the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. In fact, those with active/ effective EQ reportedly earn an average of $29,000/year more than those with low EQ. (

Here are 6 examples of ways interviewers assess EQ,
the story behind the questions, and the best ways to respond.

“Tell me about yourself.”

What they’re really asking: Why did you apply? What can you do for us? Are you the right fit?

EQ connection: Anyone can go into a monologue about their experience, but few can articulate how their behavioral identity (such as a strong need to be liked, or a commitment to stability and self-sufficiency) impacts people around them. Emotionally intelligent people are willing to talk about themselves in a candid, non-defensive manner. They also recognize how their feelings and behavior affect others, providing them control over potentially alienating behavior.

Best way to answer: Think of 2 or 3 accomplishments that directly relate to why you’re the best candidate for this position. If anxious, recognize that you may broadcast these feelings nonverbally. Use emotional and social “radar” to gauge how your words and actions influence your interviewer(s).

Emotionally Intelligent Ways to Ace a Job Interview

“Why did you leave your last job?”

What they’re really asking: How self-aware are you? How do you handle your emotions at work? What lessons have you learned from your work history?

EQ connection: This can be a confusing question, as your instinct may be to be vague just to placate the interviewer. However, if you skirt the question, you run the risk of looking “guilty”, making the interviewer wonder what you’re hiding. An emotionally intelligent person will understand their emotions as they relate to the real reasons behind leaving their last job. They will also be able to regulate and control their behaviors associated with these emotions. We’ve all had instances at work that didn’t go as well as intended, but criticizing others or too much open disclosure can indicate a lack of self-regulation that never bodes well in an interview.

Best way to answer: No matter what your reason for leaving, the trick is to put a positive spin on your answer. Convey that the position you’re interviewing for is a better opportunity. Never mislead the interviewer or speak negatively of past employers.

“How would you handle a difficult customer?”

What they’re really asking: How do you resolve conflict? Can we trust the reputation of our organization to you? Can we depend on you when we need to?

EQ connection: Emotionally intelligent people demonstrate a willingness to understand and empathize with customers and co-workers. They intuitively grasp what others want and need. Similarly, they are excellent team players with the ability to keep focus on a project while remaining aware of and responding to the emotional climate of the group.

Best way to answer: Provide a specific example (preparing a list beforehand will make it easier for you to recall these stories when asked). Demonstrate that you shifted the interaction with the difficult customer from potentially adversarial to collaborative and/or helpful. Assure the interviewer that you will provide excellent service without compromising the integrity of the organization.

“Give me an example of a time when you had to quickly analyze a situation and make a decision.”

What they’re really asking: What are your problem-solving skills? Are you capable of making sound decisions on the fly without becoming stressed?

EQ connection: Emotionally intelligent people are able to find solutions and deal realistically and calmly in stressful situations. Additionally, success in problem solving and stress management means you are able to demonstrate resilience and maintain a positive attitude. At work, this is vital if you’re facing tight deadlines, juggle multiple responsibilities, or work in an environment with constantly shifting priorities.

Best way to answer: The interviewer will be interested in the thought-process behind your actions. Make sure your answer tells a success story that demonstrates your understanding of the situation, how you dealt with pressure and/or navigated through competing priorities, and implemented a workable solution.

“What are your weaknesses?”

What they’re really asking: How self-aware and confident are you? Do you learn from and reflect upon your mistakes? What are your lessons-learned?

EQ connection: While being open to feedback is never easy, emotionally intelligent people take it in, analyze it, and potentially make changes based upon the critique. They demonstrate emotional maturity, adaptability, and leadership potential.

Best way to answer: We all make mistakes, so refusing to answer this question is a sign you’re not willing to learn. Keep in mind also that any strength carried to the extreme can be a liability.




[ image via ]

“What do you know about our organization?”

What they’re really asking: Do you care enough about us to do your research?

EQ connection: This question partially relates to self-awareness (i.e., how clear are you about how your strengths will fit into the organization?), but it also relates to expression and decision-making. Lack of preparation can indicate either lack of interest in the position or an inability to stay flexible and tactfully communicate with the interviewer(s).

Best way to answer: Talk about a challenge the organization is facing and what you know about their plans to fix it, new products or features, or the organization’s business approach. It doesn’t take much effort to research organizations online (but be careful about the sources you use; not everything published online is true). Answering this question successfully isn’t a matter of reiterating what you read on the website, but how you translate that into what you can do for them.

If you want to boost your EQ, it’s important to be honest. It takes a lot of maturity to be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses, and many otherwise competent professionals lack this key element of EQ. This, along with the ability to pick up on other peoples’ emotions, can spell the difference between success or failure on an interview.


Originally published July 9, 2015 on LinkedIn, by Career Counselor Edythe Richards.

Edythe Richards (MA, MBTI®MP, GCDF) has helped hundreds of mid-career adults, baby-boomers, veterans, immigrants, recent grads, and average folks locate and sustain meaningful employment through her work with Northern Virginia Community College’s Workforce Development Division, and Arlington County’s One-Stop Employment Center. She has created a bridge between the worlds of counseling, coaching, and workforce development, offering a unique blend of compassion and realism. Edythe also serves as a liaison to several community organizations, providing consulting and training on team building and effective communication, workplace-focused seminars on resumes, networking, job search, and other career-related topics.


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Fixing the Glitch: the face of cyber security

From cyberattacks to technology malfunctions, our private information is at risk every day. We have developed vast networks, security protocols, and automated processes to handle many of our daily tasks, and every industry–from military to finance to entertainment–has  critical vulnerabilities revealed by attacks on data and functionality. We are facing serious gaps in both technology and the manpower to fix it.

Fixing the Glitch: The Face of Cyber Security

Information Security = Job Security

Those with a degree or certification in information security have an excellent career outlook. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Information Security Analysts is expected to grow 37% through 2022, well above the 11% projected growth rate for all occupations. Information security analysts also receive a median annual wage of $86,170, which is higher than the average $76,270 for all computer occupations. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Ed., Information Security Analysts (visited July 13, 2015).

The path to these careers is found through both degree and certificate programs. Information security jobs are highly competitive, and require a comprehensive understanding of security and privacy throughout an organization’s technology network. IT security specialists set up and maintain their organization’s information security, from installing security software to responding to cyber attacks. And as cyber attacks become more sophisticated, approaches to information and network security must evolve in similar ways to counter the threat.

Growing a new cyber force

The Department of Defense outlined a new Cyber Strategy in April 2015, with a target of 133 Cyber Mission teams by 2018. The Mission Teams will have three primary goals: defending DoD networks, systems, and information; defending against cyberattacks; and providing cyber support to military plans.

We live in a time of growing cyber threats to U.S. interests. State and non-state actors threaten disruptive and destructive attacks against the United States and conduct cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property to undercut the United States’ technological and military advantage. …We must be dynamic, flexible, and agile in this work. We must anticipate emerging threats, identify new capabilities to build, and determine how to enhance our partnerships and planning. …By working together we will help protect and defend the United States and its interests in the digital age. (The DoD Cyber Strategy, PDF, April 2015)

To this end the Department of Defense, along with private sector and academic partners, hold annual Cyber Guard exercises that provide participants an opportunity to practice live cyber operations on a closed network against simulated adversaries. This approach blends industries with different backgrounds, to help share tactics in preparation for future cyberattacks on both government and the private sector.

Cyber Guard 2015, held in Suffolk, VA

Our area is becoming a hub for government cyber interests; the annual Cyber Guard exercise is growing rapidly each year, and the NSA and Defense Information Systems Agency have established a U.S. Cyber Command headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. From its inception in 2010, the Cyber Command staff has grown to just over 1,000; that number is expected to double over the next few years. The growth at Cyber Command has attracted the interest of technology companies in the area, including commercial tech and cybersecurity firms.

The White House has also recognized the need for more qualified candidates for technology jobs, especially positions in information technology and cybersecurity. Of the approximately 5 million available jobs in the U.S. today, almost a quarter are in IT fields such as software development and cybersecurity. Many of these jobs did not exist 10 years ago.

The average salary in a job that requires information technology (IT) skills … is 50 percent higher than the average private-sector American job. Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the President’s middle-class economics agenda. …Employers across the United States are in critical need of talent with these skills. Many of these programs do not require a four-year degree. (“President Obama Launches New TechHire Initiative,” March 2015)

These jobs require skills that can be learned in industry-certified training programs, in months, not years. And they’re not solely in high-tech companies; many IT and cyber jobs are available in health care, retail, energy, financial services, or even transportation.

The TechHire initiative  is focused on connecting more Americans to available technology jobs in order to keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy. TechHire is working with over 300 employer partners to recruit, train, and place applicants in over 120,000 open technology jobs. In addition, TechHire is seeking to expand training models to create more fast-track learning opportunities to meet the growing need for a tech workforce.

Cyber Virginia

In February 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order No. 8, launching the Virginia Cyber Security Commission, recognizing the economic benefit to creating new cyber jobs in Virginia. According to CompTIA’s 2015 Cyberstates (February 2015), almost 1 in 10 of Virginia’s private-sector workers are in tech industries, with an average wage of $105,000 per year. The tech industry drives 8.6% of Virginia’s economy, with over 275,000 tech industry jobs throughout the state.

The Cybersecurity 500 List for Q2 2015, published in April 2015 by Cybersecurity Ventures, lists 39 Virginia-based companies. Only California has more companies on the list, with 150. Massachusetts is behind Virginia with 35 companies. Steve Morgan, Founder and CEO of Cybersecurity Ventures, contemplates Virginia as a hotbed for cybersecurity:

Demand for vendor-furnished information security products and services by the U.S. federal government will increase from $7.8 billion in FY 2014 to $10.0 billion in 2019 … according to Deltek’s Federal Information Security Market Report (published Oct. 2014)…. When you consider these market-sizing estimates and projections, which align to the federal sector – and all of the federal agencies that are headquartered in Virginia – it explains a lot. (Virginia is for Cybersecurity, July 7, 2015)

With all the companies in Virginia dedicated to advancing cybersecurity and new technologies for information networks, there is an accompanying need for a trained workforce to fill these positions. The “Techtopia” map below, provided by Northern Virginia Technology Council, shows the concentration of tech and cyber companies in Northern Virginia.


Become a cyber professional

In April I discussed the job outlook for cybersecurity professionals and NOVA’s Workforce Development Division dedication to addressing the skills gap here in Northern Virginia. To meet the growing need for Information and Cybersecurity professionals in the area, our Cyber Security certificate program includes entry-, mid-, and advanced-level certificates in Cyber Security. We have many IT and computer skills certificates available to IT professionals who are already working in Information Security, and provide customized training to organizations who need to advance skills of IT staff. For information on our cybersecurity certificate programs, call 703-948-3703.


NOVA Workforce Development Division | Blog
Northern Virginia Community College’s Workforce Development Division is dedicated to improving Northern Virginia’s economic development and business landscape with a comprehensive variety of training options, including Professional Development, Certificate Programs, Enrichment Courses, Continuing Education, and Customized Training. Visit us online to learn more.

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Fixing the Glitch: cyber security and broken systems

Remember the AP Twitter hack-and-hoax of 2013, where the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) gained access to the Associated Press’ Twitter account and posted a fake tweet reporting explosions at the White House and the injury of the President? Within seconds, financial markets dropped by 1%. Within minutes, Twitter became a hornets’ nest of refutations and announcements. AP reporters tweeted that @AP had been hacked. Things returned to normal.

This hack proved that financial markets, which move reliably and quickly to perceived threats, can be vulnerable to manipulation by hackers; any glitch in the system causes software—and people— to react, so response before context and clarification is given usually causes damage. (A hacker’s market, @Economia, May 2013)


Why hackers hack

Causing disruption in financial markets is only one small incentive for cyberattacks. Large amounts of useful data live in networks and in the Cloud, and hackers are finding creative ways to get to it, to be used for everything from “simple” identity theft to industrial espionage.  In May 2015, The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that hackers had used stolen identity data (and shady email domains) to defraud the “Get Transcript” application to steal account information for 100,000 taxpayers.

CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield was also hit in May 2015 with a data breach that compromised personal information on over 1 million customers. The same attack methods may have been used in earlier breaches at Anthem and Premera, which collectively involved data on more than 90 million Americans. All companies are providing credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for members while they seek solutions to provide more robust security for their networks.

Katherine Archuleta, the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is currently dealing with one of the largest government data breaches in U.S. history. The scope of this disaster is still growing, since additional reports have surfaced indicating that the breach has affected  almost 20 million background investigation forms and 1.1 million fingerprint records for Federal employees.

The theft of these forms represents a major national-security and intelligence failure, given that they contain records of past drug use, mental health and contacts with people overseas and other sensitive information that could prove useful to a foreign intelligence agency. (Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2015)

Archuleta will likely be held accountable for the current OPM breach, but the problem is systemic, and much more than any one person or committee can solve.

In April 2015,  the U.S. Government Accountability Office presented GAO-15-573T, a testimony on Cybersecurity and the need for government agencies to address cybersecurity challenges that are growing steadily each year.  “Specifically, the number of information security incidents reported by federal agencies to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) increased from 5,503 in fiscal year 2006 to 67,168 in fiscal year 2014, an increase of 1,121 percent.

Wait. what?

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Between FY 2006 and 2014, the number of information security incidents—stolen data, malware installation, phishing or SPAM attacks, and so on—increased over ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. Here’s a visual from page 7 of the GAO report:

GAO chart from 2006 to 2014 showing increase in security breaches

Furthermore, the report details the types of threats and the purposes of the attacks. Keep in mind this is the stuff we know about.  And the government sector is expanding its cyber warfare capabilities in an attempt to meet these threats head on.

Intentional versus unintentional threats

In addition to cyber attacks, computer glitches are wreaking havoc with automated software systems worldwide. Software that runs massive systems involves millions of lines of code. Despite thorough quality checks and regular security upgrades, a tiny error—such as one misplaced string of code or a missing character—can cause programs to act erratically, or  even crash completely.

A United Airlines computer system glitch grounded flights nationwide for a few hours Wednesday morning, July 8, leaving thousands stranded and causing a domino effect of delays for almost 5,000 flights worldwide.

The glitch affected software that automates United’s operations, according to the FAA. And its failure shows just how sensitive computerized companies are nowadays. (CNNMoney)

Fears of systemwide technical vulnerability were brought to light when the New York Stock Exchange went dark from 11:32 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. on the same day of the United Airlines debacle. This outage was longer than the 2013 NASDAQ collapse, which spawned an order from the Securities and Exchange Commission to improve the vulnerable systems that form the backbone of Wall Street. According to market analysts,

… the SEC, which polices the markets, has struggled to keep up with the technological revolution that has come to dominate modern trading. It has also missed out on opportunities to address key vulnerabilities, opening the door to other damaging threats. (@WashingtonPost)

Luckily, technology kept the outage a non-crisis. The availability of alternative electronic trading platforms has resulted in the NYSE handling less than 14% of the trading in American shares. So while the NYSE’s glitch is still problematic, it wasn’t catastrophic. (Glitch Perfect, @theEconomist, July 9, 2015)

Shortly after the beginning of the NYSE computer crash, the Wall Street Journal displayed a 504 error on its site until a modified homepage could be uploaded. The full site was restored shortly thereafter.  The Wall Street Journal has not yet reported what caused their website crash, but theories abound, from the serious (bandwidth overload, virus issues, cyber attacks) to the silly (anniversary of first print issue in 1889, SkyNet waking up).

The Wall Street Journal 504 error on its site.

Leaving the door open

United Airlines cited a faulty router for the systemwide halt; the New York Stock Exchange crash seems to have been caused by a faulty software update that was installed Wednesday morning before trading began. And the Wall Street Journal experienced a systems-overload (only on its non-mobile browsers) that was likely an effect of overload from users seeking information on the other two (my theory, at any rate).

While nothing indicates the three technical glitches are linked, speculation is causing a lot of fears about technology infrastructure and data security. With the Sony Pictures hack from late 2014, to the still-fresh nationwide OPM hack blamed on old software, cyberattacks and malfunctions are becoming part of the public awareness of our dependence on vast, vulnerable systems.

…OPM has other responsibilities, including payroll and health benefit processing for government employees. [OPM Director] Archuleta repeatedly blamed legacy systems, some of which dated back to 1985 and use outdated COBOL programming language, as part of the problem. Such legacy systems, she said, could not be encrypted, for example. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) CIO Tim Scott noted that information-security practices such as data segmentation in databases are much more difficult in legacy systems. (“OPM Blames Legacy IT Systems in Contentious Hearing,” @PrivacyTech, June 17, 2015)

Obviously, we can’t just pull the plug on old systems and start from scratch. New critical systems and enhanced, secure infrastructure is needed everywhere, but these improvements will take time. The shortage of skilled IT and cybersecurity professionals has been widely publicized; in February 2015 the White House held a summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University, calling for “industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates” and others to come together to work through the issues facing cybersecurity. President Barack Obama explained that the government cannot tackle this “cyber arms race” on its own due to so many systems residing in private industry (non-government) sectors. Since cybercrime is systemwide, it makes sense for both government and private industry to work together to grow our defenses against cyberattacks.

Part 2:
Fixing the glitch: the face of cybersecurity

NOVA Workforce Development Division | Blog

Northern Virginia Community College’s Workforce Development Division is dedicated to improving Northern Virginia’s economic development and business landscape with a comprehensive variety of training options, including Professional Development, Certificate Programs, Enrichment Courses, Continuing Education, and Customized Training. Visit us online to learn more.

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Summer 2015: Saturday Management Series

July 11, 18, and August 15  |  NOVA Loudoun  |  Management Series

July 11, 18, and August 15 | NOVA Loudoun | Management Series


Hone your management skills with three essential courses this summer at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus. Addressing employee management, project and time management, and successful teamwork, any one of these core-skills courses will prove helpful to business colleagues and managers at your company:

July 11  9am–3:30pm  |  BUSC 1406
Essential Management Skills for Human Resource Management

Employees are an organizations most valuable resource. Supervisors are responsible for effectively addressing various issues affecting their employees. This course will address the essential skills supervisors need to address employee performance and personnel actions.

July 18  9am–12:30pm  |  BUSC 1758
Successful Time Management: How To Stay in Control

Are you stressed or find yourself overwhelmed by projects, performance issues and deadlines? Do you feel like work keeps piling up and you can’t seem to see the forest for all the trees? Learning to manage your time can actually minimize stress and improve your quality of work and life. We’ll address various suggestions for effectively managing your time and alleviating stress.

August 15  9am–12:30pm  |  BUSC 1787
Teamwork in Today’s Work Environment

In today’s virtual work environment, the definition of team has taken on a whole new meaning. Employees are now required to work with colleagues across the globe. Face-to-face meetings are now conducted via video conferencing. So, how can employees overcome some of the challenges of trying to work together? What are some of the barriers that prevent team members from being a cohesive group? Discover the seven components of a well-rounded and successful team and how those components can be used to create effective synergy among team members at every location.

Check out the course listings at the Loudoun Campus to see all the Business and Management courses available this summer. Of course, all six of our campus locations feature courses that will enrich your skills for both business and self-improvement. Or if you need a more customized training approach, our Corporate Performance Solutions Team can develop and deliver a training program for your organization.


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Risk and Change Management: July 2015 at NOVA

Space is still available:
Risk and Change Management (July 2015)

Register online or call 703-257-6630 for more information.

Risk and Change Management, Summer 2015 at NOVA Manassas Innovation Park

Risk & Change Management ( BUSC 1522-01M) | July 16 & 17, 2015, 9am–5pm | Manassas

Change must be expected in today’s business environment. Unmanaged change results in chaos. Understanding how to handle changes and risks, and how they are related, is both an art and a science. A good project manager needs the tools necessary to identify, quantify, measure and report on all aspects of a project, including these unknowns. This course embraces not only the technical aspects of risk and change, but also the human aspect. Technical topics include risk identification and assessment , risk response development and control, configuration management, and change control. Human factor topics include acknowledging change, strategies to reduce stress induced by change, and perception as a factor in evaluating risk.

Thursday and Friday, July 16 & 17, 9 AM to 5 PM
Manassas Innovation Park, 9485 Innovation Drive, Manassas
Instructor: Michael Van Dyke, PMP
For more information, call 703-257-6630

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Beyond college: corporate training and career development

NOVA Workforce Development Division: Corporate Performance Solutions

Do you, as an employer, view a degree as the only measure of skills and capabilities for your workforce?

The answer is “it depends.” Different industries have different requirements. But we need to step back and look at how the definition of higher learning—traditionally via a four-year degree program—has evolved, for both individuals and employers.

Degree alternatives

For many individuals, the traditional four-year degree program simply doesn’t fit their needs:

An associate degree for two years of study or a certificate of specialized training can … yield middle-class earnings. In fact, salary statistics indicate that workers with these short-term-education credentials can make as much as—or even out-earn—those with a traditional four-year degree. (“A Bachelor’s Degree isn’t the Only Path to Good Pay,” Wall Street Journal)

Degrees are still alive and well, but associate degrees awarded have grown 38% between 2008 and 2013 (the last year for which data is available), while bachelor’s degrees only grew 18%. More telling, however, is the 40% increase in this same period of career-focused certificates.

Formal degree programs, while still an essential tool for higher learning, may not be the answer for everyone. Especially those seeking a career in high-tech industries, where hard skills and market-ready experience is required for entry-level careers.

Consider technology leaders Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and Larry Ellison (Oracle): each adjusted their learning experiences, opting out of a formal degree program. Consider the current needs of Millennials, who intuitively approach higher education as a collaborative, non-linear experience, often facing frustration with the traditional model of focused curricula.

From degree to targeted skills learning

Education is undergoing a shift, responding to the needs of people who no longer fit the archetype of a traditional student, and to the needs of companies who require employees to be well-versed in soft skills such as collaboration and problem-solving in addition to the fundamentals of a good education.

In her insightful article “This is the Future of College,” Jessica Hullinger ponders higher education and value of a college degree:

Experts say that within the next 10 to 15 years, the college experience will become rapidly unbundled.

Hullinger goes on to explain that many programs are shifting to “skills, not semesters.” Employers are seeking job candidates with real-world skills and the ability to solve problems and work in teams. Schools are shifting their focus to competencies that translate to a ready-to-work skill set that can move an individual seamlessly from classroom to office.

Mid-career learning

For those who have already started a career, or for companies who need to provide training to already-established employees, the learning process becomes even more personalized. A software programmer, for instance, may need to gain skills in Cyber Security or network essentials. Project managers may need new certifications for job advancement. Mid-level staff may need to develop skills to advance into new leadership positions. Whether training is required for an individual staff member or as a company-wide initiative, the approach is going to need to meet schedule and staff needs.

Corporate spending on leadership development is high, especially as Millennials take on more responsibilities and leadership positions. According to a article, high-performing companies (those who fall into Forbes’ “high-impact” categories) spend significantly more on training than average.

Sending individual staff to attend open-enrollment classes can satisfy the need for basic skills development, such as Introduction to Word, or PMP/CAPM Exam Preparation. However, a customized training program is more effective for targeted staff development and improving overall knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) for a group of employees.

Customized learning

While basic, concrete skills will change with advancements in technology and shifts in the marketplace, soft skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and team building are essential to create leaders who are able to turn multi-generational workers with different communication styles and work approaches into effective, highly productive teams.

Rounding out hard and soft skills in areas outside of employees’ job descriptions brings untold benefits to the company. The most successful teams consist of members who have skillsets that complement one another and play off of team members’ strengths. When employers invest in training in hard and soft skills, it helps employees feel valued as they work toward career development goals. (read full article in’s blog post)


With customized training, companies can bring together both core competencies and soft skills to develop a targeted training program that is more relevant to organizational needs. Customized training also allows companies to develop employees at a specific pace and at their skill level, which results in more effective learning and faster employee development.

Other benefits of customized training include greater control over content, a smaller overall cost in the long term, the ability to manage timing and schedule, and creating a tighter organizational culture as employees learn together as a team.

Your training resource

If you feel that customized training might be a solution for your company, please contact NOVA Workforce Development Division’s Corporate Performance Solutions team. We have developed customized training programs for federal, state, and local government organizations as well as large and mid-level corporations. We have industry knowledge paired with well-established instructors who can help you develop a training program that meets your specific needs.

We are embracing the future of education through open-enrollment courses, industry certification programs, and customized corporate training. Call us at 703-323-3281 to speak to one of our training program developers, or email us at

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Leadership: Truths, Trends and Training

Leaders can be iconic, causing a shift in how people approach leadership.  Unfortunately, a leader who really changes things—a company, a product, or an industry—often causes a “guaranteed success!” rallying cry that is doomed to fail for many. After all, leadership, at its very core, is unique to each company and each individual. Some people can respond to a leader who is authoritative and dynamic; others may perform better under a leader who acts as a mentor to the team. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership; leaders must think beyond themselves, and develop their skills at every level.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch

Leaders are human, first and foremost. They may not have graduated magna cum laude. They might have strange habits that inspire them. They might wear the same outfit every day to put more energy where it belongs. They’re just like us, only NOT like us. And they might not even be in positions of leadership.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today’s leaders are tasked with adapting to an ever-evolving workforce that is highly diverse and tech-savvy. Since Baby Boomers are now heading into retirement, younger generations—including internet-native Millenials—are assuming leadership roles earlier in their careers. Teams and mission drive progress more than hierarchy and duties.

Compton City, CA, Mayor Aja Brown made history in June 2013 as the youngest Mayor the city had ever elected. Her leadership has created positive changes in the city, with Compton’s crime rate dropping 25% and an urban renewal underway. Aja Brown was one of nine leaders featured in Leadercast 2015, “The Brave Ones.” The one-day event, held at NOVA’s Annandale Campus, featured leaders from many diverse backgrounds, but all shared the same essential quality of bravery in leadership.

Bravery is … reserved for those whose innovation in their industry cause them to stand out from the crowd, whose unyielding effort and error push their organizations into new territories, and whose boldness compels them to stand up for those less fortunate. [VIDEO: highlights from Leadercast 2015]



In our shifting economic landscape, leadership is evolving. Gone are the days of seniority and perks. Today’s leaders are mission-driven, team-centric, and flexible. Here are some essential skills that can help you become a more effective leader, and all are taught through NOVA’s Workforce Development Division.

  1. Learn to cope with change.
    Change is going to happen. Understanding change and risk, and how they are related, is both an art and a science. A good leader should know how to acknowledge and handle change, and reduce stress induced by it. [July 2015 / register online]
  2. Learn to cope with conflict.
    Leaders must learn to resolve differences, reduce the potential for continued conflict, and build more positive relationships both professionally and personally. It all begins with self-analysis and understanding. [July 2015 / register online]
  3. Know your team.
    The effectiveness of a team can make or break a business. Know how teams function, including individual and group dynamics.  Learn strategies to create effective virtual teams for better collaboration and relationships. [August 2015 / register online]
  4. Know your mission.
    Your plan will undoubtedly evolve and adapt from its original idea, but every organization needs a plan to stay on track and grow. Learn how to carry out a planning process and follow through in order to keep your mission moving forward. [August 2015 / register online]
  5. Know your limits.
    Delegation is a critical skill that many leaders fail to understand. Learn how to properly delegate responsibility, authority, and accountability. Recognize things that can’t be delegated, and learn how to monitor progress without micro-managing. [July 2015 / register online]

NOVA’s Workforce Development Division has a Certificate in Management Practices for those seeking a firm foundation in management fundamentals. Many individual courses are also available in addition to the five listed above, for personal development and leadership skills training.

If you are interested in learning more about leadership, management, or just want to learn how to record your ideas and dreams so you can plan your next steps, check out our offerings at


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