Category Archives: Corporate Training

Education and Career Support at Cornerstones

NOVA workforce career counselor, Jennifer Merrill, is leading an information session at Cornerstones to provide customized career insight and support.

Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that assists clients in gaining self-sufficiency. Cornerstones provides resources including food, shelter, housing, childcare, and other services. Continue reading Education and Career Support at Cornerstones

NVTC Titans Event: Deep Learning

Members of the NOVA Workforce team attended an event on deep learning hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) on January 31.
The event, titled “Deep Learning: Promise and Pitfalls,” was part of NVTC’s Titans event series. The event consisted of two panelists, Melvin Greer, Chief Data Scientist at Intel, and Dr. John Kaufhold, Managing Partner and Data Scientist at Deep Learning Analytics, sharing their insight on the topic of deep learning. The panel was moderated by Dr. Ravi Pappu, Chief Architect at In-Q-Tel.

Continue reading NVTC Titans Event: Deep Learning

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.

Stakeholder Partnerships: from conflict to collaboration

Dealing with stakeholders, especially difficult ones, can be among a project manager’s more frustrating responsibilities. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) 2013 PMBOK, a project stakeholder is “an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project.”

Most project managers depend on the old model of “managing stakeholders,” which entails keeping project stakeholders informed, updated, and monitored to ensure steady, efficient progress. As you can imagine, communication is key. So is consistent engagement:

Stakeholder management needs to focus more on engagement in order to move projects from installation to implementation. …Projects should start with the premise that identifying a range of stakeholders and engaging with them in a consistent and organized manner will improve project success. (Engaging Stakeholders for Project Success, 2015)

In her insightful article How to Train Your Sponsor, Laura Barnard, PMP ( indicates that “the number one factor in determining success or failure of your change initiative is…sponsor engagement.” Barnard goes beyond communication and trust to provide several ways that sponsors—who can be considered stakeholders themselves—can be motivated and engaged to become an effective part of project management.

But what about the difficult stakeholders?

Effective project management requires learning how to move beyond the traditional approach of “managing stakeholders” to a more modern approach: making stakeholders your partners. Partnership creates a sense of ownership that allows intuitive buy-in from all stakeholders on the project. Successful partnerships also mitigate risk.

There is a strong correlation between stakeholder management and risk management. Without the buy-in and full commitment from stakeholders, projects, regardless of their success factors, are at high risk for failure.  (7 tips to transform difficult stakeholders into project partners, by Moira Alexander, via


The Educational Alliance of NOVA Workforce Development Division and PMIWDC are presenting a Project Management Training Seminar for project managers and PMPs to discover a new approach of making stakeholders your partners.

Course Objectives:
  • Examine recommendations in the PMBOK Guide for providing foundational structures and processes that can save you and your organization time and money.
  • Introduce negotiating and conflict management techniques that have proven track records.
  • Provide tips for dealing with difficult stakeholders and situations.
You will have opportunities to learn from the experiences of all your classmates in exercises based on real-life situations, and you will develop a customized plan that will allow you to implement this new approach in your own organization.

This workshop is presented by Ron Taylor, an internationally-known leader, lecturer, author, and consultant, as well as the principal and founder of the Ron Taylor Group. He is a past President of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Project Management Institute (, the largest PMI Chapter in the world with over 10,000 members.

Stakeholder Partnership:
Moving from Problematic to Collaborative

New! Half Day Saturday
Saturday, November 21, 2015, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
4 PDUs; $220.00 per person
NOVA Reston Center
1831 Wiehle Avenue, Room 309
Reston, VA 20190
Metro Accessible: Wiehle-Reston East (Silver Line)
Refreshments provided!

For more information on this workshop,
call 703-450-2551 or email Veronica Ortiz at
Ready to register? Visit MyWorkforce online to register for this course!