We just completed our first series of Summer Bridge Programs in #InformationTechnology (IT), #EngineeringTechnology (ET), and #ComputerScience (CS)! These programs are intended to “bridge’ the gap between high school and college with a pathway that leads to further technology education and in-demand, well-paying technology careers.
The IT Bridge Program performed hands-on activities such as cisco packet tracer and networking, the Virginia Cyber League and cybersecurity, and web site development.
The CS Bridge Program engaged in hands on programming activities such as using recurrent neural networks to generate text based on an input model, building games in Unity, and using the Virginia Cyber League to do the “password ripper.
Students in the Engineering Tech Bridge program worked on engineering cable termination, used the Fab Lab smart factory and other mechatronics equipment, and also had the opportunity to tour Micron and STACK Infrastructure’s Data Center.
One Computer Science Bridge student concluded that the most effective experience in the program was “learning the difference between IT and Comp Sci [and] what it takes to work in the Comp Sci field.”
An IT Bridge student reflected “the greatest takeaway of the program was seeing how people like myself think and how others don’t see the world. The skills in IT will be of great benefit. The instructors were excellent and I loved how they were caring, honest and used real world knowledge…”
Another Bridge student said “the greatest learning for me was about how to be successful in college.”
Bridge Programs are made possible through and NSF DCO Tech Grant, which is geared toward expanding regional capacity for training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations
DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations
Awarded in July 2021, the NSF Advanced Technological Education grant supports NOVA’s Engineering Tech Programs. DCO Tech is designed to increase regional capacity for training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations through expanded recruitment, employment training, and increased collaboration between industry, K-12 educators, and faculty.
NOVA’s Engineering Technology program offers 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and 1-year Career Study Certificates (C.S.C.), as well as a Data Center Operations specialization.
Northern Virginia is the largest data center market in the United States and is forecast to continue growing. Additionally, Micron Technology has committed to a $3B expansion of its regional manufacturing capacity. DCO Tech is partnering with employers to meet the demand for engineering technicians.
What the NSF DCO Tech Grant Supports:
Bridge Programs for High School Juniors and Seniors
Through the DCO Tech Grant, NOVA IET offers FREE 2-week summer bridge programs to help juniors and seniors get ready for college. During these programs, students receive an introduction to one of three in-demand technology fields: Computer Science, Information Technology, or Engineering Technology, tour at regional employers, and meet NOVA faculty, students, and staff. Bridge students will gain critical skills and have the opportunity to receive college credit.
>> For secondary school CTE administrators, teachers, and/or counselors who are interested in guiding students into a successful tech career.
This externship equips educators to build awareness for Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) careers in the region and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for these in-demand and high-wage careers. Educator Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:
Attend an industry tour of Micron Technology, where attendees will see the daily operations and gain insight into career opportunities in Engineering Technology.
Attend an industry tour of a data center, which will provide first-hand visuals of a data center’s daily operations. There will also be a presentation on data center careers and opportunities.
Attend a tour/professional development day at the NOVA Manassas Fab Lab. The goal is to create clear pathways and provide materials to guide high school students into NOVA’s Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations programs.
>> For engineering technology professionals and data center technicians to inspire the next generation of engineering technicians.
This externship engages professionals in the Engineering Technology industry to support high school students who are learning about technician careers, and equips professionals to teach NOVA’s engineering tech programs. Industry Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:
An introduction to NOVA’s engineering technology programs and facilities.
Learn credentials required to teach as an adjunct instructor at NOVA and explore the pathways to becoming a credentialed engineering technology or data center operations faculty member.
Develop and deliver two lessons for the summer bridge program to inspire high school students to pursue careers in Engineering Technology.
Participants will attend an in-person professional development session at the NOVA Fab Lab (NOVA Manassas Trailside Building) where they will create their lesson presentation for NOVA’s Engineering Tech Summer Bridge Program.
Internships with the Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI)
>> More information about CLRI Internships supported by the DCO Tech Grant coming soon
>> More information about DCO Tech Veteran Programs supported by the DCO Tech Grant coming soon
NOVA Academic Programs Supported by the DCO Tech Grant:
Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA
Supporting Technology Programs at NOVA
NOVA IET: NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technology Program. Learn more about Information Technology, Engineering Technology, Data Center Operations, Cybersecurity, Information Systems Technology, and Cloud Computing https://www.nvcc.edu/iet.
NOVA SySTEMic: NOVA’s STEM Program to equip students for in-demand technology careers and expand regional capacity for STEM talent. Learn more about STEM Careers, NOVA Fab Lab activities, Summer Bridge Programs (in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Engineering Technology), STEM Camps, Teacher Professional Development, STEM Competitions, Expos, and more: https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic
Congratulations to IET Advising’s Allison McElfresh for being a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program awardee!
The Reward and Recognition Program recognizes administrative and professional faculty, classified staff, teaching faculty, and adjunct faculty who have demonstrated outstanding contributions and exemplary performance.
Allison McElfresh is the strategic lead for advising for students in any of NOVA’s Seventeen Information and Engineering Technology associate degrees and career studies certificates. She brings 14 years of experience as an Advisor and Program Analyst at NOVA to her role. According to Allison, “One of the greatest challenges of the advising position is finding a balance between responsive advising, where we provide support to students who contact us because they know they need help vs proactive advising, where we try to anticipate problems our IET students might encounter and then attempt to solve those problems before the student even becomes aware of them.”
Her vision is to use data more effectively when advising students and to create resources that help students more easily find the information they need regarding course selection and transfer planning.
So far, she has been able to combine Python programming and Excel to produce tracking sheets that show which students have completed which requirements for their degrees or certificates, so the IET Advisors could identify students who had completed a CSC without being aware of it, so they could be contacted to apply for graduation. The sheets have also been useful in identifying students who had applied for graduation but forgotten to transfer classes in from another college, allowing those students to complete the transfer process in time.
Allison regularly takes IT classes at NOVA herself in order to acquire the skills to better solve advising problems. She has been taking courses in Python Programming and Advanced Database Management, and will be working towards the new Data Analytics Specialist CSC which should be added to NOVA’s curriculum sometime in 2023.
“I can’t wait to see the ways in which Machine Learning and Data Analytics can help me find creative ways to advise my students better.” If you have any advising questions for one of the IET degree or certificate programs, you can reach Allison McElfresh and the other members of the IET Advising team at email@example.com.
According to Value Colleges.com, NOVA’s online information technology degree programs for 2022 are in the Top 10 for the country. The methodology for ranking the best online associate’s in information technology starts with the editors research of accredited, trustworthy colleges and universities known for return on investment. Then they ranked programs according to student reviews, graduate salary, and cost, according to current Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Niche data.
When you add that all up, they came up with the top 25 online information technology associate’s degree programs. NOVA, with its extensive online IT courses landed at number 10. The Information and Engineering Technologies Division offers nine of its thirteen IT programs (AAS and CSC) completely online. Students can complete everything from Cybersecurity to Information Systems Technology, or Application Programming to Network Administration. There are plenty of options for students seeking the flexibility of fully online programs.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for computer support specialists was $55,510 in 2020. This is representative of the average associates degree in information technology salary, but actual pay varies depending on your role. Many IT fields value experience along with education, and if you’ve combined earning an associate’s degree in information technology online with employment, you can find higher paying positions. It’s easy to discount the opportunity for higher paying jobs because you “only” have an associate’s degree, but the field of IT is one that rewards people for knowledge, education, experience, and intuition quite nicely.”
The Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship, is a two-year program funded by the U.S. Department of State and an excellent opportunity for community college honors students who are interested in pursuing an IT-related bachelor’s degree and a career in the Foreign Service.
The FAIT Fellowship provides up to $75,000 in academic funding for the junior and senior years in an IT-related bachelor’s degree, two summer internships (with stipends), professional development, and mentorship. Additionally, after successful completion of the Fellowship and the State Department’s requirements, the Fellow receives an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist.
Many FAIT Fellows are community college alumni. The State Department wants to reach more community college students with this opportunity, and seeks to attract outstanding tech talent to the Foreign Service that reflects the diversity of the United States. Members of minority groups underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women and those with financial need are encouraged to apply.
Applications for the 2022 cohort is planned to open on September 8, 2021. Webinars and virtual info sessions will be offered throughout the fall semester. Please contact Monique.Dans@twc.edu for more info and to discuss ways to spread the word to honors students.
Virginia ranks as the “Best Business Climate” and the “Top Tech Talent Pipeline” in the nation, according toBusiness Facilities’ 17th Annual Rankings Report, released this week. Home to the largest concentration of data centers in the world, Virginia also tops the magazine’s “Cybersecurity Leaders” chart.
“Virginia has undertaken the most impressive effort in the U.S. to fill the national shortage of skilled workers in the data-centric sectors that are driving economic growth in the 21st century,” said Jack Rogers, editor-in-chief of Business Facilities.
“World-class universities are partnering with industry giants to add thousands of new computer science grads to Virginia’s rapidly expanding tech workforce. This combination positions Virginia to defend its tech talent pipeline leadership for years to come,” Rogers added.
California, New York, North Carolina and Maryland round out the top five, respectively, in Business Facilities’ new Tech Talent Pipeline state ranking, which evaluates each state’s tech talent investments, STEM-oriented education programs and partnerships between industry, universities and EDOs, among other weighted factors.
Business Facilities noted that Virginia is injecting more than $2 billion into a Tech Talent Investment Program that cumulatively represents the largest state commitment to computer science education, aiming to create an additional 31,000 computer science graduates in the Commonwealth while strengthening computer science programs at the elementary and secondary school levels.
NOVA’s Go Virginia Grant will Support a Dual Enrollment Expansion Project for Information and Engineering Technology
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), was recently awarded a Go Virginia grant of $1.11 million, following Governor Northam’s announcement allocating 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 for technology opportunities and partnerships across the state, NOVA will collaborate with the Northern Virginia Economic Alliance (NOVA EDA), the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority (LCEDA) and local school districts, particularly to improve the regional capacity for producing IET talent by investing in faculty development and student support structures.
The grant allows for expanded programming to raise awareness 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.
GO Virginia’s Region 7 Council has identified cybersecurity, data center operations (DCO), and cloud computing as some of the fields where the talent shortage is most acute. NOVA currently has one-year career study certificates (CSC) and two-year applied associate degree programs in these fields, which were co-developed with regional industry partners. Additionally, NOVA has CSC and two-year programs in engineering technology leading to high-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, and support for incoming students. Furthermore, this model will help ensure regional capacity-building for IET by developing secondary teachers into credentialed adjunct faculty who can provide dual enrollment opportunities at regional high schools. The DEEP-IET program is planned to create 288 additional graduates, 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 and will help orient graduating high school students 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 cohorts with the same sequence and schedule of classes during their first year at NOVA. Up to 48 students will be placed in cohorts each year, which will allow mentoring, career preparation, and advising to be structured in the same way as coursework, increasing student access to these services.
An internship and career readiness program for IET students between their first and second year of coursework in collaboration with local employers. This program will also work to further NOVA’s goal to integrate academic coursework and work experience.
A credentialing program to prepare regional high school teachers to teach 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.
A veterans 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.