All posts by mstover

Northern Virginia Community College Announces Amazon Apprenticeship Program

This will be the first Amazon apprenticeship program to be launched on the East Coast.

November 2, 2017 (Herndon, VA) – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a new innovative apprenticeship program designed to train veterans in northern Virginia. The announcement marks the launch of the first-ever apprenticeship programs for AWS on the East Coast.

The apprenticeship program is designed to fill a growing need for tech talent in the northern Virginia region. In October 2017, there were 23,000 job postings for employment opportunities in the tech sector in northern Virginia. The apprenticeship program will train individuals for Associate Cloud Consultant (ACC) positions. This all-veteran cohort entered training at NOVA for 16 weeks and will continue with on-the-job training at the AWS Herndon headquarters. Throughout the course of their program, apprentices will earn a series of highly-technical industry certifications that are in-demand by the technology sector, including: CompTIA Network+, Linux+, and the AWS Solutions Architect.

“The Amazon Apprenticeship program takes veterans who are a great fit for Amazon culture and helps them build the technical skills that they need to be cloud support associates — a high-demand technical role,” said Ardine Williams, Vice President of Human Resources for Worldwide Operations at Amazon and Army veteran. “Thanks to our strong and experienced partner the Northern Virginia Community College we have a great curriculum for our veteran cohort in Northern Virginia and are excited to launch our program here. Together, we’re looking forward to learning and growing with our apprentices so that we can refine and scale the program to help meet America’s growing demand for tech talent.”

The northern Virginia region has three times the average number of IT workers when compared to the rest of the United States. This apprenticeship program is an example of how business and education can creatively and successfully collaborate to address unique workforce challenges. NOVA’s large student veteran population and diverse offering of technology training programs help businesses find the highly-skilled tech talent they need to succeed, ensuring that the region remains economically competitive.

“NOVA is honored to partner with AWS to address the increasing demand for highly-skilled tech workers,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, President, NOVA. “Advanced training programs like the AWS apprenticeship are core to NOVA’s mission to meet the needs of regional employers and provide career pathways for students in high-growth industries.”

For additional information about apprenticeship programs at Northern Virginia Community College, please contact Steven Partridge, Vice President of Workforce Development at

NVTC and NOVA – A Partnership that Matters

By Dr. Scott Ralls, President, Northern Virginia Community College

Northern Virginia’s technology companies have an urgent need for talented employees. I heard that loud and clear the other day when one of our region’s leading CEOs called me to discuss strategies for the challenges he and other tech employers are facing. The challenges are clearly reflected in the data, validating the angst that our technology employers are feeling and the urgency for our region to be laser focused on workforce development.

Approximately 30 percent of all job openings in our metropolitan region last year were in information technology, translating into 161,000 total IT positions. We have more than double the number of cybersecurity job postings of any area of the country, and last year actually had more vacancies advertised for cybersecurity analysts than we had people working in that job category. At only 8,000 IT graduates produced annually across all degree categories from all colleges and universities in our region, we are barely scratching the surface to meet the demand for new IT workers required by one of the nation’s leading technology hubs.

That is why the partnership between NOVA and NVTC is imperative. Meeting a significant regional challenge will require collective input across employers and educational institutions, and NOVA is committed to aggressive, strategic partnering with our employer community and educational colleagues to address this challenge. Doing so is the right thing for the future prosperity of our region, and it opens doors of opportunity to our students who already live in this region and aspire for good local careers.

It is critical for educational institutions and businesses to partner together to attract and retain a talented workforce. This type of partnership will better serve to develop training and workforce needs within the Northern Virginia region, ultimately allowing businesses to remain economically competitive. We hope to better prepare our students for the labor market once they complete their studies at NOVA by providing them with the right resources to enter the workforce. We also want to collaborate with the technology business community by responding to changing employer needs and providing a qualified pipeline of workers with the right skills needed for the job from day one.

Aggressive partnering also helps us maintain one of the most notable attributes of our college. Even though we have never lost a football game, NOVA doesn’t appear in any top 20 college football rankings or hardly any other traditional metrics by which colleges are often compared. But research by a Stanford economist recently indicated that we are one of the best colleges in the nation for fostering socio-economic mobility for our students. This is an accomplishment made possible by having a region with a wealth of job opportunities paired with our college focus to prepare our students to grasp those opportunities.

We value our partnership with NVTC because it allows us to strengthen and grow workforce development efforts, to ensure that our investments and efforts are hitting the right targets, and to maximize our impact for our students and the communities and region we serve.

This opinion editorial was originally published in the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s The Voice of Technology magazine in October 2017.

Northern Virginia Tech Leaders Find Way to Tackle Cybersecurity Skills Gap

As featured in the Washington Business Journal.

“At any given time, Ashburn-based cybersecurity firm Telos Corp. has about 50 job openings.

But actually filling all of those IT jobs? It’s been getting trickier as cyber vulnerabilities ramp up and companies increasingly compete for limited talent to defend against the threats, said John Wood, Telos’ CEO and a board member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

John Wood, CEO of Telos in Ashburn, said companies like his need more technology talent with specific cybersecurity certifications.

“We’re robbing from Peter to pay Paul rather than building up more cyber talent,” Wood said.

In a bid to address that issue in Northern Virginia, the NVTC announced a new academic partnership with the Northern Virginia Community College to help the school understand what skills companies really want in their new hires. The two will jointly conduct research this year on the region’s cyber workforce needs, while giving NOVA more access and exposure to NVTC’s business membership.

NOVA leaders will regularly attend meetings of the NVTC-led Tech Talent Initiative Employer Collaborative to get more employer feedback about how NOVA could better tailor its curriculum to workforce needs, said Steve Partridge, the college’s vice president of workforce development.

For instance, Wood said companies like Telos don’t necessarily need workers with four-year degrees. Instead, he often wants applicants who have certain types of credentials, such as what’s known as the information systems security professional certification.

Other companies may be looking to hire someone with a four-year degree in computer science with a mix of additional certifications, said Allison Gilmore, NVTC’s vice president of communications and strategic initiatives.

In addition, an NVTC study released in December showed employers said they need graduates with more soft skills that can’t be taught, such as communication and critical-thinking skills.

This is a particularly deep need for the Washington region, in which 161,000 information technology jobs were advertised just in the last year — the second-largest region for IT workers seeking jobs — according to NVTC research. The industry is expected to grow 1.7 percent in the next decade, adding 34,000 new IT jobs to the region’s economy by 2027.

And yet, a broader skills gap remains nationally, as thousands struggle to find employment while tech employers struggle to find a qualified workforce. As USA Today reported earlier this year, there will be about 1 million more computing jobs than potential applicants by 2020, according to analysis from”

View the article.

NOVA Announced as First NVTC Academic Partner

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) announced today that Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) has signed on as its first ever NVTC Academic Partner. This new partnership reflects NVTC and NOVA’s joint commitment to ensuring the Northern Virginia region has a robust pipeline of highly-skilled information technology workers.

Recognizing the tremendous impact of the information technology sector, both currently and in the future, it is critical for educational institutions and businesses to partner together to attract and retain a talented workforce. This innovative partnership will better align training and workforce needs within the Northern Virginia region, ultimately allowing businesses to remain economically competitive. In addition to positively impacting the business community, this partnership will better prepare students to enter the labor market, as NOVA will flex with changing employer demands to enhance and grow new programs to ensure individuals are equipped with the real-time skills needed on the job.

“The region’s universities and community colleges have been active participants and leaders in the NVTC community,” said NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg. “With this new partnership, Northern Virginia Community College is affirming its willingness to support the workforce needs of the region’s technology community.”

The Washington, D.C. metro area, with 161,000 information technology job advertisements over the last 12 months, is the second largest region in the country for employers seeking IT workers. Additionally, job growth in the information technology field is projected to increase by 1.7% annually over the next 10 years, adding 34,000 new IT jobs to the region’s economy by 2027.

In addition to support for many of NVTC’s year-round events and programs, NOVA’s Academic Partnership includes sponsorship of NVTC’s Tech Talent Initiative, which aims to address the workforce challenges of NVTC members and the Greater Washington technology community.

“We are proud to be NVTC’s inaugural Academic Partner,” said Northern Virginia Community College President Dr. Scott Ralls. “NOVA is committed to creating a workforce pipeline that meets both the capacity and the competency requirements that are driving our regional economy. Partnering more closely with NVTC and its members will allow us to develop programs, curriculum and content that align with the needs of the region’s technology employers.”

NOVA Workforce LPN Program Ranked #3 in Virginia

Northern Virginia Community College’s nursing program has been ranked as one of the top 20 LPN programs in the state of Virginia!  Northern Virginia was ranked as one of the top 3 programs based on a variety of factors, including how well a program supports students towards licensure and beyond.

Graduates of the Northern Virginia Community College Practical Nursing program are prepared and eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN.) The program provides students with the opportunity to enter the field of nursing in three consecutive semesters of study.

Interested? Contact us today!