Category Archives: Soft Skills

CLRI Completes Spring Cohort with Executive Networking Event

The Spring 2024 Career and Leadership Institute (CLRI) was capped off on March 28 with the Executive Mentoring and Networking event!

A total of 24 students graduated from the Spring program, completing 7 workshops that covered topics including Leadership and Communication Skills, Building your Personal Brand, Technical Resume Writing, and Understanding Clearances and Vetting for Government Jobs.

The spring program covered 5 weeks starting in February and culminated in the Executive Mentoring and Networking event with 13 industry executives from Iron Mountain, HR Tec, Stack Infrastructure, CoreSite, AWS, A Foot In The Door, Vetting Konsultants, Micron, and Digital Realty.

Both mentors and students were recognized at the end of the event, and participants stayed an extra hour to network with industry partners.

Feedback from CLRI students included the following:

“I’m in the cybersecurity program and looking forward to entering the workforce. This event has been amazing; it helps break the ice, and all the questions I’ve been stressing about are being answered. Having come from the medical field, I’m entering this environment fresh. I was concerned about whether companies would hire people with no experience. Now, I understand what these companies are looking for in their employees, including certifications, and so on. It has been a fantastic experience.”

~ Kayley Radar, Cybersecurity

“I enjoyed speaking with professionals in groups along with other students because it prompted me to think of questions I hadn’t considered before. It allowed us to bounce ideas off one another.”

~ Arisiema Legasse

“I think it was cool that you could talk to industry leaders face-to-face. They were all very friendly, engaging, and interested in getting to know the students.”

~ Patrick Gilllespie, Data Center Operations

“This event was excellent as it provided a good opportunity to practice interacting with others. At NOVA, not many people engage in conversations; they attend their classes and leave. So, this experience was beneficial.”

~ Josh, Computer Science

“Andy Chavez said that working for a company is like a future relationship: the company wants you as much as you want them. I really liked this event.”

~ Nga Tran, Cloud Computing

NOVA Student Success In IET: Willie Brown

NOVA student Willie Brown is flying high in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars Program. From CLRI to FOWA, he’s leaving a trail of success wherever he goes.

We recently settled in for a conversation with Willie, a NOVA IET student and participant in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program. We were eager to delve into his remarkable experience and trace his journey through NOVA IET.

Brown, currently pursuing an A.S. in Information Technology, a C.S.C. for Network Engineering Specialist, and CompTIA Industry Certifications, discovered this excellent opportunity through a Canvas announcement last year. Despite fierce competition among hundreds of community college students, Brown stood out and actively engaged in Mission 1: Discover and Mission 2: Explore within the NCAS virtual experience. To top it off, Brown received an invitation to Mission 3: Innovate-Capstone Project, scheduled to take place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California!

Mission 1 and Mission 2 are five-week programs, deeply immersing participants in NASA’s missions and STEM careers. Meanwhile, Mission 3 is a three-week endeavor, consisting of a 2-week online segment followed by a one-week residential experience. During this time, scholars like Brown will contribute to NASA’s missions by developing possible solutions to current challenges faced by NASA.

As he embarked on Mission 1, Discover, Brown found himself engrossed in a NASA orientation that set the stage for the subsequent NCAS missions. This phase offered students a comprehensive insight into NASA’s ongoing projects and pathways for involvement.

The online program blends various STEM activities, including expert talks, interactive media, group work, tests, and guidance from seasoned educators, providing students like Brown with an engaging learning experience during Mission 1.

He encourages students to explore the program, noting that Mission 1 is achievable due to its virtual nature. He explained that participants delve into NASA’s directorates and focus on major ongoing projects, such as Artemis.

Artemis II, slated as the first crewed mission to the moon since 1972, is scheduled to launch a year from now. Brown emphasized its significance, stating, “The space program affects life on Earth much more than you might initially think. For example, research takes place on the space station that can be beneficial on Earth. Research topics include plant growth, changes in bone density, chemical processes for the development of medicine, and more. It’s really exciting in addition to the first person of color being on the Artemis II team.”

Transitioning into Mission 2, Explore unfolds as a simulation where students craft solutions for missions to the Moon or Mars. This phase focuses on teaching them the art of balancing choices within set limits. Simultaneously, within the career simulation, students step into mock NASA roles, showcasing the importance of teamwork and personal skills essential for monumental missions, such as exploring the lunar surface.

Brown was a member of the Apollo Green team, tasked with deciphering which rocket to utilize, defining payloads, specifying the mission objectives, selecting landing sites, and managing numerous other crucial elements.

When allocating roles among team members, Brown humorously compared the process to steering clear of the frantic scramble for supplies at the cornucopia in The Hunger Games; in their case, the “cornucopia” encapsulated all the available STEM roles in Exploration. Thankfully, the team swiftly resolved their roles due to time constraints, spurred by the impending presentation of their project.

His role centered on public affairs, necessitating the creation of a marketing plan outlining their approach to disseminating the program to the public. He also strategized on how to keep stakeholders informed about their progress while navigating the challenge of addressing encountered issues without revealing excessive details to other teams.

Amidst his involvement in the NCAS program, Brown’s plate extends far beyond. Besides being a NOVA student, he is deeply engaged in various roles. He serves on the Student Advisory Group for Virginia Workforce Recovery, collaborates with the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, holds positions as a NOVA Corps intern with Alexandria Enrollment Services, and interns with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and CACI Corporation.

When questioned about his perspective on the importance of IET fields, he elaborated, “The world has shifted—now, we’re all interconnected through this internet, so there are fundamental things that everyone needs to comprehend in order to protect themselves.”

On doing CLRI at NOVA

Reflecting on his journey at NOVA, Brown highlighted the significance of completing the Career & Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI). He firmly advocates for its value, stating, “It’s worth the time and energy invested. An absolutely fantastic program—it’s priceless.” He specifically praised several beneficial aspects such as mock interviews, guidance from subject matter experts, insightful visits to data centers, resume assistance, and the invaluable support from Career and Technical Education Coordinator, Andy Chavez, and IET Career Advisor, Sedrick Settle.

Furthermore, the CLRI focuses on imparting soft skills, an aspect Brown noted as crucial irrespective of one’s field. He acknowledged the significance of interpersonal abilities since interaction with people is universal across professions. He identified essential soft skills such as maintaining eye contact, effective communication, active listening, the art of asking questions and seeking clarification, mastering intonation, delivering both positive and negative news, demonstrating respect, and offering basic technical support.

First Place in the Future of Work Academy (FOWA)

Additionally, last fall, Brown participated in the virtual Future of Work Academy (FOWA), an institution specializing in cybersecurity career preparation. Notably, he clinched first place in the FOWA Innovation Incubator Challenge by presenting an idea centered around connecting individuals with limited resources seeking employment opportunities to free community resources. His concept involved establishing virtual cohorts within the community. His focus lay in imparting fundamental typing skills, recognizing its essentiality in today’s landscape.

Engaging in NOVA IET

Regarding advice for those contemplating NOVA’s IET programs, Brown stresses the need to dispel the notion that IT professionals are innate wizards, emphasizing that everyone starts as a learner. His advice is to initiate learning, seek guidance from successful individuals, and craft a solid learning plan, starting without delay.

For non-traditional students, he urges active engagement within the NOVA experience, advocating for the exploration of unfamiliar opportunities. He emphasizes the significance of not holding back academically or experientially due to age differences. In the competitive arena of professional life, he suggests embracing the diverse experiences within the classroom while understanding that they may also be competitors in securing dream jobs.

Highlighting the importance of a support network, Brown acknowledges the influential role of Jack Bidlack, NOVA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, as a mentor and supporter. “One of my champions is Mr. Bidlack. Anytime something happens to me, I always send him a note to let him know what’s going on. He’s like my cheering section,” he said with a bright smile.

Looking ahead, Brown envisions completing his studies at NOVA and transferring to a four-year university, preferably one with an active honors program or a small liberal arts school offering an engaging environment. He also expresses his commitment to lifelong learning, currently pursuing a mathematics class at NOVA.

 

CLRI Hosts Women’s Mentoring Event

Joanna Bidlack, Senior VP of Human Resources at Leidos, inspires women to succeed.

 By Kristy Gillespie

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to celebrate women in the field of Information Technology (IT). The IT industry is experiencing exponential growth in Northern Virginia, leading to an increasing demand for qualified employees. While there are fewer women than men in IT, companies are actively seeking diversity of thought, recognizing that women will bring new perspectives and innovative ideas to the IT sector.

In celebration of women in IT, NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technology (IET) division recently held its inaugural Women’s Mentoring Session at the Annandale campus as part of its Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI) program, which trains IET students in the soft skills needed to secure in-demand technology jobs.

Joanna Bidlack, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Leidos – Intelligence Group, is a powerhouse in her field and served as the distinguished guest speaker for the mentoring session. Although she has 15 years of experience in HR, her career began with an undergraduate degree in graphic design, whereafter she co-owned a business focused on graphic design and photography, alongside a grocery store management venture.

However, the unpredictability of entrepreneurship led her to pivot towards the stability of the local government field as she pursued and earned a graduate degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development.

At the mentoring event, Bidlack shared her wealth of knowledge with female IT students and graduates, covering a range of topics including details about her professional journey, finding support in a male-dominated IT field, and providing tips on resumes, interviews, and effective networking.

Careers Are Not Linear

With a confident smile, Bidlack explained, “Careers are not linear. You are going to pivot. You may find that what you go to school for is not exactly what you choose to do, and that is okay.”

As women progress in their careers, she suggests that they will encounter defining moments such as marriage, the birth of a child, changes in their current job, or other factors that prompt them to question their chosen path.

“Pay attention to these defining moments and assess your satisfaction with your current situation. It’s important to find happiness in your career. If you experience stress, frustration, a lack of appreciation, or poor treatment, summon the courage to make a change, or at least devise a plan for change.”

Don’t Limit Yourself

Acknowledging that men are often more inclined than women to apply for a position even if they don’t meet all the job requirements, Bidlack emphasized that while meeting the primary job requirements is key, it’s not necessary to fulfill every single one. Job requirements should be considered more as a wish list for the employer rather than a strict checklist of must-haves.

“If a position within your company aligns with your interests, make sure to inform your boss about your interest. Your boss won’t know unless you express it.

Instead of pondering ‘what if I can’t do it?, start asking yourself, ‘What if I can do it?’”

Additionally, if a woman fails to celebrate her successes, there’s a high probability that others may not notice them. She suggested that a great opportunity to highlight achievements is during an annual performance review, emphasizing the value of keeping track of accomplishments throughout the year to include them in the review.

Highlights or Gaps in the Resume

Bidlack highlights the value of proficiency in additional languages, particularly in the IT field. Many companies are willing to offer higher compensation for multilingual skills. Therefore, women should ensure to focus on this valuable skill on their resumes.

In addition, if there’s a gap in employment history and the hiring manager inquires about it, a simple explanation such as “for personal reasons” or “due to a family commitment” will suffice. “Remember, employers are not permitted to ask for specific details regarding your personal life,” she explained.

She stressed the importance for women to conduct thorough research on the business they are involved with. Understanding the mission, purpose, and operations of the company is critical. Taking the initiative to familiarize themselves with the business, rather than waiting for others to educate them, will significantly benefit their careers.

Preparing for the Interview

Bidlack, offered numerous constructive tips, stressed the value of thoroughly studying the job description before an interview. She advised identifying skills, recognizing gaps, and ensuring overall preparedness. Bidlack recommended creating an Excel spreadsheet to list job requirements alongside personal and professional experiences. This spreadsheet can spotlight transferable skills and assist in addressing gaps, either by acquiring certifications or discussing these during the interview with the hiring manager.

In addition, generating a list of potential questions based on the job description and practicing them through role-playing with a trusted friend or family member can significantly enhance a candidate’s readiness.

While a comprehensive understanding of the company isn’t necessary, she pointed out the importance of studying its website. Knowing core operations, unique initiatives, and how

the applied role aligns with the company is key. Such preparation not only fosters confidence but also helps in providing specific and relevant answers when asked about one’s interest in working for the company.

Moreover, taking the initiative to familiarize oneself with the business rather than waiting for others to educate will significantly benefit a candidate’s career. Requesting a copy of the questions beforehand is acceptable, as it’s essential to stay focused during the interview.

 Creating a Professional Brand

Bidlack emphasized that creating a successful professional brand is paramount for a woman’s career success. It encompasses how they interact with others, their communication style, attire, and work ethic. Women should reflect on what they want to be recognized for in their professional sphere.

Maintaining a professional appearance at work is essential. If a woman is unsure whether an outfit is too tight, short, or revealing, it’s best to opt for a more conservative choice.

Behaving appropriately in the workplace and at work-related events is vital. For instance, when alcoholic beverages are offered, it’s advisable to adhere to a two-drink limit.

“It takes a lifetime to build your professional brand. It takes one situation to tear it down. It’s one outfit. It’s one interaction. It’s one crying fit session that you have in somebody’s office because you didn’t get your way,” she said.

Create a Network

Both Nga Tran, a student in the Cloud Computing program, and Maya Figueroa, an Engineering Technology student, were most interested in networking tips.

Tran expressed, “The one thing I hope to get from today is to hear everyone’s stories and to keep going. You know, see where I fit in and see where I am in everyone’s stories.”

Mya asked, “Do you have any tips on networking and meeting people that will help you further your career?”

Bidlack explained how it’s important for women to establish a supportive network of professionals within their field, whom they can approach for assistance when needed and with whom they can celebrate their successes.

She recommended setting a goal to engage with three new individuals during work events instead of attempting to network with everyone. By doing so at each event, women will gradually build a more meaningful network.

Receiving Feedback

For many individuals, receiving positive feedback is motivating; however, not every employer will provide it. Nonetheless, the most impactful feedback comes from within. For women, striving to do their best is what truly matters.

She advised being open to feedback, even when it’s negative, as it offers an opportunity for growth. Women should consider insights from individuals, even those they may not prefer, as there’s always something to learn from it.

“The most successful people in the world have failed so many times. So what we do as women is we expect perfection from ourselves, but that’s not realistic. You have to go into your career knowing that you will fail. You will make mistakes. It’s normal. Everybody does. Make your mistake, let it sting for a minute, and move on,” she explained.

 You Will Never Be Liked by Everyone

She expressed that being universally liked, especially in higher positions within a company, is unlikely.

“If I’m liked by everyone, then I’m not doing my job as a leader,” she said.

However, the most important aspect is for women to appreciate and like themselves. Women should speak to themselves with the same kindness and support as they would to those they care about. When negative self-talk arises, women should remind themselves of their positive qualities. They should embrace their unique skills and the distinct way they perceive things; that’s what makes someone truly special.

Uncomfortable Situations

Unfortunately, there may be instances when a male coworker puts a female in an uncomfortable situation. In such cases, Bidlack suggests that women consider these steps:

  • Be direct: Clearly ask them to stop their behavior.
  • Physically take a step back or remove themselves from the situation.
  • If the discomfort happens in a group, address it privately by speaking to the coworker.
  • Discuss the issue with their manager.
  • If needed, approach the HR department. If it’s not available, inform the manager. If their concerns are not taken seriously, reconsider working in such an environment.

Ask for Help

Bidlack stated that despite the tendency among women to avoid seeking help, it’s crucial to ask for assistance before feeling overwhelmed. Women should focus on a few things they excel at and be recognized for those strengths. Attempting to handle everything often leads to inefficiency. Instead of solely working hard, aim to achieve specific goals.

Seizing Opportunities

Cloud Computing graduate Asma Eldahshory mentioned, “I’d like to get confidence even to apply. I never apply. I say, what if they interview me and I can’t do it?”

Bidlack recommends reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which illustrates that many successful individuals simply seized opportunities they were given, while unsuccessful ones missed those chances.

When an opportunity arises, “what you choose to do with it will either propel you toward your goals or you’ll stop and stay where you’re at. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You fail? Well, we already know we’re going to fail at things. You’re going to make mistakes? Well, we already know we’re going to make mistakes. So what does it matter, right? Give it your all – what could happen is, you’re actually successful.”

Enthusiasm about New Tools

Shamalee Jayakodi, a NOVA cybersecurity student who attended the event, was effusive about what she’d learned and felt that the session was “an amazing experience. I had an opportunity to meet powerful women who have proved that there is no limit to what we, as a woman, can accomplish. We are stronger when we support each other and cheer each other on. I’m grateful to be part of the women mentoring community.”

Nga Tran, a Cloud Computing student at NOVA praised the outcomes of the event by describing it as a “welcoming and inspiring meeting for me and great working advice for women in technology. I found heartwarming story-sharing and encouragement from fellow peers. The struggles and passion are now not only mine but for all of us to share and overcome. I found friends here and we will continue to be each other’s support throughout the journey.”

CLRI Graduates Network With Industry Executives

Education meets opportunity! Our 6th cohort of NOVA IET CLRI (Career and Readiness Leadership Institute) grads at Northern Virginia Community College used new skills to make industry connections at our recent networking event aimed at securing #InDemandTech internships and jobs!

We had a record number of students this Fall, with 61 students at the preliminary interest meeting and 65 students attending at least one workshop.

NOVA IET’s  M. Andy Chaves and Sedrick Settle have done excellent work inspiring students to get involved and understand the value of interpersonal relationships in the technology industry.

Overall, 41 students are on track to complete CLRI, ready to get ahead with valuable soft-skills (Building Your Personal Brand, Interview Prep, Professionalism & Accountability, Effective Communication, Trends in IT, and How to Write a Technical Resume) that are vital for their technology career journey.

During the program, students were offered at least 4 site tours to Data Centers and a microchip processing plant to gain a fuller understanding of what they are preparing for.

The big finish – an Executive Mentoring and Networking Event where industry professionals advised and conversed with students to help them build their network. Many of these companies will provide internship and job opportunities to CLRI participants, as has been the case every time we do CLRI!

Big thanks to the following executives and companies who invested their time, knowledge, and experience for our CLRI grads looking to launch their careers:

CoreSiteMiguel Ramos, CMCO
Sustainable Workforce Development Solutions (SWDS) – Daisy Saulls
FedHIVEMichael Cardaci
Amazon Web Services (AWS)Stephen Jolly
Micron TechnologyMichael Guttman
A Foot in the Door, Inc.Keith W. Francis
Technology Infrastructure Advisors – Ajay Bawa

The feedback we received from students was effusive. Here’s a few of the responses:

“CLRI is an incredible program from beginning to the end, every single day was filled with great opportunities to learn and explore new careers. The best program ever created to achieve students confidence at the door step of widely expanding technology industries in Virginia. I’m thankful and grateful be in this program and hope future NOVA students will continue to be inspired by CLRI.”
Shamalee Jayakodi Arachchige

It was fantastic! I had very thoughtful and insightful discussions with industry leaders. I feel much more confident in myself and in my speaking abilities. Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate, learn, and apply the concepts you’ve instilled in my CLRI teammates and I.” – Gabriel Diaz-Rosero

“Thank you for the the event. The mentors are so welcoming, open to share and listen. We are so glad to be a part of the community. I left with a clearer vision of my next step.” – Nga Tran

NOVA students who are interested in getting in on the 2024 CLRI sessions, go to https://bit.ly/CLRI24

More about CLRI at https://www.nvcc.edu/career-services/clri.html

NOVA Launches DCO PD at ACTE Conference in Denver

NOVA IET launched the DCO PD (Data Center Operations Program Development) grant award with ACTE at their National Postsecondary CTE Summit in Denver on September 21st, with a call to action for college and secondary educators to participate in a DCO Fellowship that will bring them to NOVA for professional learning, then return to their schools and institutions with an action plan to implement and expand DCO in their service area.

Data Center industry experts  Anthony Hatzenbuehler, from CoreSite, Vanessa Kennedy, from STACK Infrastructure, and Jeffrey Cassar from Cologix, Inc., added their valuable insights as panelists at the launch presentation led by NOVA SySTEMic Director Josh Labrie.

Labrie opened by noting that “the DCO industry is growing fast and markets continue to strengthen across the U.S. DCO’s goal is to raise awareness for the national need for data center operations education and to increase capacity for DCO education at community colleges and technical colleges around the nation.”

One way this will be accomplished this is by bringing college and secondary educators to Northern Virginia Community College for a Professional Learning Fellowship.

By a wide margin, Northern Virginia is the No. 1 site for data centers in the country and the world. With NOVA’s upcoming Data Center Training Facility underway at the Woodbridge campus, the region is an ideal locus to facilitate training that will act as a catalyst for expansion throughout the country.

After the fellowship, participants will complete an externship at a data center in their region and develop a DCO Education Action Plan that can applied in their professional practice, inspiring and equipping more people to get into Data Center careers, no matter what their background.

Cassar stated during the panel session that “someone with a solid base education and  who’s motivated has so much opportunity within data centers. It’s a career, it’s not a stepping stone.”

Hatzenbuehlar added “what I’m looking for is somebody who has the drive, desire, and the aptitude to keep going and furthering their knowledge even beyond the education system to the industry they’re in.”

Kennedy highlighted the importance of fostering industry awareness and talent: “Data center growth in employment is outpacing the economy. There are so many career opportunities. We’ve been really big on pushing internship programs and diversity, trying to get women into the data center and technology sector. We need that talent. STACK has been partnering with NOVA to do these internships with a goal of finding them a place in the industry. We want everyone to be successful.”

Hatzenbuehlar later capped off the panel by stating “that’s what we’re looking for in partnering with NOVA – we’re really in need. there’s a ton of demand for operators and very little supply. We need to partner together to build that supply chain.”

Educators can apply for the DCO Professional Learning Fellowship here. 

Read more about DCO PD at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/dco-pd-nsf-grant.html

NOVA IET is looking forward to working with Association for Career and Technical Education and co-principle investigator, Sophia Ward-Alston on DCO PD.

Special thanks also to Thomas (TJ) Ciccone, Albertine (Laury) D.,  Josh Levi and the Data Center Coalition.

DCO PD is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

#DCO #DataCenterOperations #MissionCritical #InDemandTech

 

CLRI Kickoff Our Biggest One Yet

The Career and Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI) kicked-off at the NOVA Annandale campus on September 7th and this Fall’s group is our biggest one yet with over 50 registered participants.

CLRI is free and provides NOVA students the opportunity to become more competitive job candidates.

NOVA IET’s M. Andy Chaves and Sedrick Settle have established a highly regarded program that equips NOVA students with career readiness and priority consideration for paid internships with industry partners.

The kick-off event is intended to give CLRI participants an invested and friendly opening to what’s become a vital program at NOVA.

Just from the kick-off alone, surveyed students responded with the following feedback:

“This was an amazing session, something I needed for a very long time. Today I found my brand with the help of two amazing mentors. Looking forward to gain more valuable tips.”

“Thank you for being genuine and for sharing personal experiences with us.”

“It was great! The guest speaker went over all communication skills in great details, provided great examples and requested the crowd to participate as much as possible. Best workshop so far in my opinion.”

“It was interesting and educative. I’m glad I joined this program. I really need a mentor in life.”

“It was a great experience, learned a lot of tips and important aspects of interview techniques. In fact, it helped to build confidence and hope in me. Great workshop.”

Fall CLRI sessions are are currently underway. where CLRI students are training how to interview, create a resume that stands out, network effectively, manage interpersonal skills in a diverse workplace and more. For NOVA IET students, the CLRI is a vital component in learning soft skills to complement technical skills.

Many CLRI grads have landed internship and job offers from tech industry partners directly through the program.

New Spring sessions will be available to sign up for in Jan 2024. Fill out our Interest Form and we will alert you when registration is available.

More about CLRI at www.nvcc.edu/career-services/clri.html

 

NOVA Awarded In 3 of 5 Workforce Opportunity Grant Categories

(AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)

Governor Youngkin announced $2.3 million in workforce opportunity grants this month.

Through an open and competitive bid process NOVA was awarded in 3 of 5 workforce grant categories. Grant recipients will focus program efforts on boosting outreach and education for youth, providing technical and soft skill training, and increasing work-based learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships. Grants were awarded using federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title 1 funds.

NOVA was awarded grants in three categories:

  • Youth Outreach and Marketing –The intent of this project is to develop and implement outreach programs that engage and inspire high school students to pursue education, training, and careers in the skilled trades. Outreach strategies must educate parents, students, and guidance counselors on the benefits of skilled trades.
  • Transportation to Learn –The intent of this project is to increase youth exposure to the benefits and opportunities of workforce development programs, such as registered apprenticeships and in- demand occupations. Projects should enable youth (in-school and/or out-of-school youth, 14 to 24 years of age) with barriers to employment to visit in-demand trades employment opportunities that are available in their local communities.
  • Supplemental Workforce Development Training Opportunity Grant –The intent of these funds is to increase the number of participants in workforce development training activities statewide, with a specific focus in work-based learning activities including, but not limited to, on-the-job training, registered apprenticeships, internships, and customized training. The training activities must lead to job placement in in-demand occupations.

NOVA is utilizing the grant to provide students experiential learning in engineering technology fields. Programming will include a summer bridge program and field trips to industry partners to see careers in action. NOVA will also fund twenty-five IT internships for NOVA students.

Read the governor’s press release here