On March 10, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) visited NOVA’s Alexandria Campus to discuss the interconnection between technical education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as it relates to future careers in the workforce. STEM programs, like NOVA’s SySTEMic Solutions, equips students with the skills needed in today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.
Senator Kaine, along with U.S. Senator Robert Portman (R-OH), recently formed the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus. The bipartisan caucus, co-chaired by Senator Kaine and Senator Portman, will focus on improving and strengthening access to career and technical education to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. Senator Kaine lauded the Virginia Community College System for meeting the work needs of the region. “There is sometimes a mismatch between what employers want and what students are learning,” he said. “Community colleges do a good job of bridging that skills mismatch.”
During the roundtable discussion, Senator Kaine spoke with students, administrators and faculty. NOVA students and faculty members thanked him for his commitment to STEM education, and emphasized the importance of continuing to promote community colleges. In addition, students spoke about their academic pursuits and achievements, such as earning an associate of science degree or a cyber-security certificate. Before taking a campus tour, Senator Kaine met with members of NOVA Robotics Team 1, which is headed to the VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Anaheim, Calif. The Robotics team was able to give Senator Kaine a robotics demonstration.
Senator Kaine’s tour included visits to the Developmental Math Lab, Biology Lab and Chemistry Lab where he was greeted by students. He concluded his tour by meeting briefly with individuals taking part in a National CyberWatch Center Leadership event on campus. Senator Kaine continued to emphasize the importance of building skills that would prepare the region for the jobs available today and in the future, particularly in the growing industries of information technology (IT) and healthcare.