As Northern Virginia continues to face worker shortages in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) has launched an initiative to help build a tech-savvy regional workforce. At an event on April 30, NVTC kicked off the NVTC STEM Challenge with a goal to have members log 10,000 volunteer hours during the next school year.
Hosted by Sprint, and sponsored by General Dynamics, Micron, Off Peak Training and NOVA’s SySTEMic Solutions, the event featured 20 speakers from education and business. Keynotes included NOVA President Robert G. Templin, Jr. and Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy. Both spoke of the need for members of the business community to work closely with schools to bring their perspective and experience to students across K-16.
The program was designed to illustrate the range of STEM volunteer opportunities in collaborative STEM programs and competitions, including robotics and cybersecurity, that are available in elementary, middle and high schools across Northern Virginia and to show the importance of industry involvement in career exploration and teacher development.
As NVTC members donate their time to the year-long STEM Challenge, a key volunteer theme is that there is a role for anyone who is interested in working with students; volunteers do not need a specific area of expertise to get involved.
NOVA’s SySTEMic Solutions www.nvcc.edu/systemic and NVTC’s Equal Footing Foundation http://www.efooting.org were featured as organizations that need volunteers. SySTEMic Solution’s Program Manager Josh Labrie delivered a stirring call to action about the importance of volunteering for STEM programs in the region and how adding to the ranks will help the workforce to flourish in the near future.
NVTC will be tracking the hours that members volunteer toward the 10,000-hour target and people who are interested in volunteering should go to 10K Volunteer Hour Challenge Sign Up to learn about volunteer activities near home, work or in the community. Interested companies should contact Rick Ferry at email@example.com.
If you want to volunteer soon, SySTEMic Solutions can facilitate volunteer opportunities for the upcoming 2014 National TSA (Technology Student Association) Conference to be held in Washington, D.C., from June 27 to July 1. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend. For more information on volunteering, please contact Labrieat 703.530.2829 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Amy Harris at 703.257.6689 or email@example.com.