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Cloud Computing Cybersecurity Engineering Technology Information Technology STEM Grants

$1.1M Grant to Build Regional Tech Talent

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.

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See NOVA IET website for more info about programs

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STEM Careers STEM Education STEM Grants

Grant Award for NOVA Engineering Tech/DCO

NSF Funds DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations Education.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded NOVA a three-year grant, set to begin in July 2021, to advance NOVA’s educational pathways to engineering technology careers.

Principle Investigator (PI) Josh Labrie, Director of NOVA SySTEMic, the college’s STEM outreach program, is excited to build community awareness for NOVA’s engineering technology programs: “This is an excellent moment to raise awareness at the secondary level for these high-paying and in-demand career opportunities in the region by reaching students, educators and career counselors through the grant.”

Co-PI’s Amir Mehmood and TJ Ciccone, NOVA IET faculty members for the engineering technology and data center operations (DCO) specialization, will lead several pieces of the project including a 2-week summer bridge program and additional data center industry engagement. Ciccone, who is Vice-President of Operations at STACK Infrastructure alongside his NOVA IET Faculty role, said “I couldn’t be prouder to participate in this program and provide students the access they need to build the lives they want. I believe in the power of education to transform lives, and this grant is just one of the many initiatives to support that mission.”

Virginia has the largest data center market in the United States – almost as much as the second-through-fifth largest markets combined. Due to favorable regulations adopted by the Virginia legislature, data center capacity is forecast to continue growing. As advanced computing techniques, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, increasingly require access to cloud-based infrastructure, the need for data center technicians, engineers, and technicians will grow quickly alongside data center capacity.

Correspondingly, Micron Technology has announced a $3 billion expansion in northern Virginia to address the need for trained technicians and engineers.

DCO Tech: Expanding Regional Capacity for Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations Education is primarily focused on studying and expanding the educational pathway of students preparing for careers in engineering technology. The grant will expand NOVA’s newly revised engineering technology programs through improved recruitment, employment training, and by fostering a community of practice between industry, secondary educators, and NOVA faculty. It will also expand the workforce pipeline for engineering technology in the northern Virginia region and partner with industry to ensure that students are prepared for careers in the data center industry.

DCO Tech will increase the regional supply of engineering technology technicians through the following components: (1) a two week summer bridge program  focused on career exploration and hands-on learning; (2) an internship preparatory programdesigned to support students in developing career readiness; (3) an externship for high school educators and industry professionals to develop first-hand knowledge of regional career pathways for engineering technology; and, (4) a veterans outreach program to inform military-connected students of NOVA’s engineering technology programs.

If interested in learning more about NOVA’s engineering technology or data center programs go to www.nvcc.edu/iet or contact IET@nvcc.edu