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.

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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.”

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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!


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NOVA celebrates graduation of first cohort of Uncommon Coders

Northern Virginia Community College is pleased to announce the graduation of its first cohort of Uncommon Coders. Following a competitive application and interview process, this first cohort launched in early February. The group of ten students has spent 60 to 80 hours a week for the past 12-weeks in an accelerated on-site program designed to train veterans and give them the valuable coding skills they need to enter the very in-demand field of IT coding. Students have learned Java coding language, giving them the skills they need to move up in the information technology workforce. The program is focused on veterans, transitioning service members, military spouses and veteran spouses.

NOVA Workforce has partnered with the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) to work with local and regional employers to learn their workforce needs and to help meet them. The partnership resulted in publication of the Northern Virginia Workforce Needs Assessment which identified a strong demand for individuals with soft skills, coupled with technical skills in coding languages, such as Java. NOVA is taking an industry driven approach to ensuring employers have the talent pipeline they need to remain competitive in our regional economy.

Uncommon Coders was developed to meet the growing demand for programming-related jobs in the D.C. metro area, while also equipping local talent with the skills they need to get hired. NOVA Workforce hired The Iron Yard, a nationally-recognized coding and programming boot camp provider to support instructional aspects of the program.

Businesses in the D.C. metro region are expected to add 22,000 new jobs in the technology sector over the next ten years, a figure that does not account for vacancies left by retiring workers. As of April 2017, there are more than 25,000 information technology vacancies in the region.

More about the Uncommon Coders program.

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NOVA Workforce Releases New Quarterly Labor Market Dashboard – Q1 2017

NOVA Workforce is excited to publish our latest regional labor market dashboard for January through March, 2017. Important highlights include:

  • There were 91,474 job postings advertised online during this time period, indicating an increase of 11.3% in the number of available jobs over the last quarter of 2016.
  • There were 13,430 cybersecurity and healthcare positions alone, representing 14.7% of all advertised positions.
  • The employer highlight features Navy Federal Credit Union, which has announced job expansion in the NOVA region.
  • The industry spotlight is on Outpatient Care Centers, one of the fastest-growing healthcare industries in the region.

For additional labor market research publications, data resources, or to contact us, please visit our website at under the “Labor Market Research” tab. NOVA Workforce also thanks the Alexandria/Arlingtion Regional Workforce Council and The Skillsource Group for their support with the Regional Quarterly dashboard.

View the dashboard.

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Summer 2017 Class Registration Now Open!

Whether you are looking to gain additional credentials to boost your current career success or learn a new skill to make a career change, NOVA Workforce has the classes and programs you need to succeed. Our programs provide you with the skills and training you need in high-growth industries. Classes are affordable and available both online and in person at one of our six local campuses. Classes begin in May, so register online today!

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New NOVA Program: Certified Ethical Hacker!

Did you know that the D.C. metro area had the highest number of job postings preferring the Certified Ethical Hacker?

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is now an EC Council Accredited Training Center (ATC). As a part of this competitive accreditation, NOVA is now able to offer the official Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) course. The CEH v9 completely maps to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework and has met the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Personnel Certification Accreditation standard.

The program uses EC Council Official Curriculum and is taught by an EC Council Certified Instructor. The course will be taught at our new Regional Workforce Center in Woodbridge:

  • Course cost is $2985 to include the textbook, virtual lab access to practice in a secure environment, and a test voucher for the official exam.
  • If someone is domiciled in Virginia, they may be eligible for Workforce Credential Grant Funds, meaning that the participant would only pay $995 for the course/textbook, virtual lab and test voucher.
  • Course is 40 hours and meets on Friday evenings.

At the conclusion of the course, the participant will be able to schedule their certification exam in the Professional Test Center in the Regional Workforce Center.

26% of all national job postings requesting the CEH are located in the D.C. metro area, so we hope you will consider registering for the CEH program today! Classes begin this month.



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NOVA Workforce Releases Innovative Quarterly Regional Economic Report

NOVA Workforce has published an innovative labor market dashboard to support the development of a strategic approach to meet the current workforce needs of regional employers. This new report will benefit economic development agencies, job seekers, and local employers by providing a snapshot of the regional labor market, ultimately putting the region on a path to remain economically competitive.

The inaugural report shows there were over 73,000 job opportunities posted in the northern Virginia region last quarter. Of these jobs, 10,000 were tied to healthcare and cybersecurity, two of the region’s most in-demand career fields. This report also highlights information related to the top hiring industries and sectors, the top hiring employers and a featured industry spotlight.

“NOVA is committed to producing graduates that can seamlessly plug into local jobs that benefit the regional economy,” said NOVA President Scott Ralls. “This report will give the regional community frequent access to rich data on the most sought-after positions in the region. It will be a one-stop shop for data on the number of positions available in various counties within the region, in various career fields, jobs advertised by specific local employers and also regional unemployment data.”

There are many reports provided by government agencies that describe job outlook, median pay and local career forecast. However, this report is specific to the northern Virginia region and provides a very detailed overview of the most relevant and urgent workforce needs in this area. The data will inform strategic planning efforts to build a talent pipeline to ensure businesses may continue to thrive in the regional economy.

“The data paints a clear picture. We need more skilled workers to fill these jobs. But the only way that will happen is if we start working together much more closely as an entire region”, says Todd Rowley, Northern Virginia Community College and Northern Virginia Workforce Board Chair.

“This report shows us that we are in a desperate state,” says Steve Partridge, Vice President, NOVA Workforce. “Based on the number of job openings coupled with the low unemployment rate, we need to immediately examine the skills required by these open jobs and identify a comprehensive approach to close the talent gap.”

The report is a combined effort of NOVA Workforce, the SkillSource Group, and the Alexandria-Arlington Regional Workforce Council.

The data is compiled using two market intelligence tools—JobsEQ by Chmura Economics and Burning Glass Technologies. This report is available on the NOVA Workforce website, in addition to other labor market information:

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NOVA Workforce Receives $100,000 From Capital One to Develop Cybersecurity Pathway

Northern Virginia Community College has received a $100,000 grant from Capital One Foundation to help develop the Cybersecurity Career Pathways Project that will inform and support middle and high school students in the Northern Virginia Region who wish to explore and hopefully pursue a career in cybersecurity. The project will whet the appetite of a future generation of cyber workers and eventually fill a regional and national skills gap that will only continue to widen in the coming years.

NOVA will be working as part of a cohort of 14 community colleges in D.C., Maryland, New York and Texas to develop some thematic areas of focus in relation to labor-market data and career pathways to create a pilot program with two Prince William County public high schools—Forest Park and Potomac—both chosen due to their high level of diversity and for the large number of students from underserved populations.

The program will offer training to teachers and counselors within the schools to teach them the importance of these fields and to relay the needs expressed by local employers. Students will attend activities and have the chance to learn about the growing field of cybersecurity. They will participate in internships and “job-shadow” opportunities and will achieve a cybersecurity credential while still in high school. They will then move through NOVA and hopefully a four-year institution and emerge prepared to succeed in this very in-demand and high-paying field. Ultimately, as a result of this pilot, students will have a greater understanding of the importance of the cybersecurity field and the value that achieving a credential can bring them in terms of launching a career with a bright future.

NOVA’s Cybersecurity program provides a curriculum that is mapped to DHS and NSA cybersecurity education standards and is designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Administration as a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year institutions (CAE2Y). Our AAS Cybersecurity degree is transferable to many four-year institutions and offers students the opportunity to participate in a variety of exciting competitions and extra-curricular activities. NOVA is a founding member of the National CyberWatch Center, a national consortium of colleges and universities focused on cybersecurity education.

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Workforce Development Division Offers Photography Training



Do you like taking pictures? We can now help you become a better photographer.  The Workforce Development Division now offers the course Photography 1.  In this course students will learn fundamental techniques of digital camera operation and will explore creative and technical aspects of picture taking.  Students will also be introduced to the Adobe Lightroom editing software for photographers. This is one class you will want to take.

For more information and to Register for the course please visit our website below

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