Tag Archives: STEM

Saturday, October 17: STEM and Medical events at NOVA!

This weekend, explore your potential future through open houses at two of NOVA’s campuses. The Medical Education Campus in Springfield is hosting an Open House from 9 AM to 12 PM, where you can enjoy hands-on demonstrations and learn about careers in healthcare through NOVA’s degree and certificate programs.

You can also see all the opportunities and advances in science, technology, engineering, and math that lead to an exciting career future at Loudoun County’s STEM Day, hosted at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus and presented by Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Public Schools, and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, stop by and check out what NOVA and our community partners have to offer! Events are free and open to the public.

NOVA Medical Education Campus Open House

Explore a career in health sciences at NOVA’s Medical Education Campus!

If you are considering a career in health sciences, we can help! Join us to learn what Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education campus (MEC) has to offer you. Meet students, and faculty who can answer your questions and help you start or complete your health sciences degree! We will have hands-on activities & demonstrations, friendly advice, light refreshments, giveaways, and even campus tours! For more information, visit the registration page. You can also check out MEC on Facebook!

Loudoun STEM Day

Also on Saturday: NOVA’s Loudoun Campus is hosting a STEM Day!

Loudoun County STEM Day is a collaborative effort between Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Public Schools, and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions to expose Loudoun County youth to opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Designed for students of all ages, the day features hands-on exhibits, workshops, food, and music in a festival-like atmosphere. Watch a robotics demonstration, wander through our Exploring Mars Exhibit, or learn about extracting DNA in our biotechnology lab! The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit the registration page or view the event schedule online [PDF].

By registering for these events, you may be photographed or filmed, and your likeness used for promotional purposes.

Techtober and STEM initiatives

In September, NVTC and NOVA co-hosted a Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) roundtable discussion on Northern Virginia’s economic future at NOVA’s Annandale Campus. More than 80 business, education and elected leaders worked to develop a collaborative vision for moving our region forward. George Mason University and Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce also co-hosted the event.

Governor McAuliffe speaks at NOVA Annandale

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, speaking on many points from his “New Virginia Economy” Workforce Initiative (Executive Order 23, August 2014), delivered the keynote address. He spoke about new opportunities available in the tech space, and the education and talent needed to fill the demand.

“We’ve got 900,000 Virginians retiring in the next 10 years which will create 400,00 to 500,000 new jobs… 60% of those jobs will require less than a 4-year degree.” — Gov. Terry McAuliffe

He went on to talk about 15,000 veterans leaving active duty every year and needing new jobs; our veterans here in Virginia are highly skilled, well educated, and perfect for high-demand technology jobs. To date, the Governor’s Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program has seen 11,000 veterans hired in the Commonwealth. He has set a new target of 20,000 veterans placed in high-demand industries. (Visit the V3 program’s Facebook page.)

NVTC Chair Todd Stottlemyer, CEO of Inova Center for Personalized Health, expressed a critical need for education and industry to work together to develop workforce initiatives:

We must invest in strategies that retain talent, attract new people to our region, and support workforce initiatives to prepare our workers and support our businesses and growth industries. (read Mr. Stottlemeyer’s full remarks at NVTC.org)

Read more about the NVRC Roundtable discussion at NVTC’s Newsroom page.

Bringing STEM industry leaders and new talent together

On September 30, NOVA’s Workforce Development Division held our second STEM Career Fair, attracting several leading tech companies who are actively hiring new talent. Joe Montano, regional representative for Senator Tim Kaine, kicked off the fair by discussing the growing impact of STEM in Northern Virginia. Mr. Montano said that events like ours help address the need for talent to fill the more than 30,000 available STEM jobs in the region.

Many STEM-based companies were available at the fair, seeking to recruit and hire new talent from over 150 job-seekers who attended. Job seekers included NOVA students, veterans, career changers, and entry-level and experienced job seekers. (We featured short descriptions of the hiring companies in a previous post.) Some companies will return in the spring of 2016 for our next STEM Career Fair.

  • ABC Supply
  • Apple
  • ActioNet
  • Capital One
  • Dulles Glass and Mirror
  • Evolver
  • Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communication
  • Honeywell
  • Leidos
  • Nordstrom
  • SAIC
  • Satnam Technologies
  • Southland Industries
  • National Student Clearing House
  • Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  • VSE Corporation

In addition to the companies above, NOVA’s Adult Career Pathways program, Extended Learning Institute (ELI), and Career Services were also on hand to assist job seekers. A Veteran’s Administration Mobile Vet Center was also on site to provide resources to attending veterans.

NOVA Career Services live-tweeted the event, and photos from the Career Fair are on Twitter (@NOVACareerServ) and Facebook (@NOVAWDD).

“The quality of the employers was outstanding, and I was delighted to hear that SAIC offered 18 students the opportunity to interview.” (Susan Baker, Special Assistant for Workforce Development)

GALLERY: Workforce Industry STEM Career Fair


The NVRC roundtable discussion and STEM Career Fair were both held at NOVA’s Annandale Campus within one week of each other. Northern Virginia Community College is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with both industry and government in the Commonwealth, and is working to meet many initiatives set forth by government-led goals and economic growth needs.

Virgina has the highest number of tech jobs per capita in the United States; most of those jobs are right here in Northern Virginia. On October 1, Governor McAuliffe delivered a proclamation on his website declaring October 2015 as Techtober, following a similar missive from his September 2014 press release,which highlighted Virginia’s innovation in the tech sector.  The Governor’s Techtober declaration:

  • WHEREAS, specialized, skilled, and technical jobs comprise more than 45% of Virginia’s labor market; and
  • WHEREAS, one out of every ten Virginia workers are directly employed in a technology field; and
  • WHEREAS, to build a workforce equipped for the New Virginia Economy, we must prepare citizens for the needs of an increasingly diverse business climate by giving them the skills and credentials that are needed in high demand, technology businesses and industry; and
  • WHEREAS, Virginia needs to build a better awareness of technical career pathways to meet the demands of the current and future employers;
  • WHEREAS, Techtober will kick off a statewide mentor pledge that focuses on business and industry mentors, internships and support to students and teachers; and
  • WHEREAS, more Virginia students, especially females and minorities, will learn about the technical fields during Techtober, with an emphasis on information technology; and
  • WHEREAS, Virginia will continue to be a leader in technologies that include: information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, manufacturing technology, health technology, aerospace technology and environmental technology;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize October 2015 as Techtober in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Governor McAuliffe is calling for 8,700 jobs per year in the tech space between now and 2020. He would like to see Virginia remain in top standing in the United States for higher education, technology, and regional economic initiatives. “Regionalism works,” said McAuliffe, during the final moments of his speech at the NVRC Roundtable discussion.


NOVA Workforce Development Division is working on many new programs this fall, responding to the forecasted demand in STEM industries. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date with new credentials, certificate programs, and partnerships!


NOVA Workforce Development Division | Blog
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STEM of Consciousness for Career Changers

We hear a lot about the high demand for workers to fill STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers. What’s less clear is what actual jobs are available, and how you, as a career changer, can leverage your experience to enter these fields.

NOVA Workforce Development Division | STEM jobs

Interested in a STEM education?

Consider the realities of today’s job market:

STEM Advantages

  • High pay. STEM education isn’t just a path to a job; it’s a path to a high paying One study indicates that STEM majors will earn a minimum of $500,000 MORE over their lifetime compared to non-STEM majors, even if they don’t work in a STEM career.
  • Job availability. STEM jobs are found in numerous different fields, ranging from research to education. By 2018 there will be 3 million NEW or replacement jobs in STEM, so as a STEM graduate, it’s unlikely that you’ll have trouble locating a job in this field.
  • Less competition. Every year 2 million jobs in the STEM fields go unfilled, mostly due to lack of qualified applicants.
  • Basic skills are always needed. Yes, technology is ever progressing, but the basics stay the same. We’ll still need math and research. If you have basic knowledge of the scientific method, computers, and report writing, you’ll be valuable, no matter how things innovate.

Potential Hurdles

  • There’s no guarantee. STEM education doesn’t guarantee that you will walk straight into your dream job on a high salary. Without necessary “soft- skills” (see below), it’s unlikely that your technical skills will get you a long-term job or promotion.
  • What’s “hot” varies. It’s almost impossible to predict what the job market will look like years after you graduate. As a result, it’s difficult for educators to develop a curriculum to best fit the material that will be “hot” in the future.
  • Most STEM careers require a degree (often an advanced degree). By 2018, 92% of STEM jobs will require post-secondary education and training.
  • Career advancement may be limited. STEM is continually evolving, and only those who frequently update their skills will move forward in their careers.

NOVA Workforce Development Division | STEM jobs in science

The good news for career changers

No matter what you studied in school or your work background, employers will value your critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The trick is to demonstrate that you have these key skills through your cover letter, résumé and interview.

  • Collaboration: Employers look for workers who possess “soft skills”, like being able to collaborate on teams and interact smoothly with clients.
  • Critical Thinking: According to a 2013 study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 93% of the survey respondents said, “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.”
  • Communication: Successful managers communicate well, build relationships, and create an environment where employees can do their best work. In other words, they practice the skills most closely associated with a liberal arts education, where emphasis is placed on participation, community, and functioning as part of a team.

NOVA Workforce Development Division | STEM jobs in tech

Whether you decide to pursue a STEM career or not,
here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Work experience trumps degree. When asked what they look for in new college grads, a recent survey shows that employers are overwhelmingly interested in experience outside the classroom. A few specific classes and some real-world experience, even if as a volunteer, may be enough to get a job – whatever your field.
  • Core skills can be developed in fields other than STEM. Critical thinking and analysis can be honed in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as STEM fields. Many experts agree that as a society, we need better STEM literacy overall – not just more STEM graduates.
  • Thought about Teaching? As demand for STEM workers has increased, so has the need for teachers who can prepare students to pursue STEM careers!

NOVA Workforce Development Division | STEM jobs in engineering

Final Thoughts

If you don’t like the STEM majors, you won’t be happy pursuing a STEM career. Students who are not happy are far more likely to switch majors, losing time and money, or to drop out altogether.


About the Author:

Edythe Richards is a Career Counselor who specializes in working with mid-career adults in transition.

STEM Career Fair: September 2015

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is on everyone’s minds these days, since cybersecurity is at the forefront of technological trends and our area is ripe for IT development.

Great things are happening both in the government and private sector in northern Virginia, and Northern Virginia Community College is pleased to answer the demand for well-trained IT professionals. This September, NOVA Workforce will be holding our second STEM Career Fair, aimed at students, veterans, and both entry-level and experienced IT professionals.

Prior to the career fair, career counselor Edythe Richards will be holding a free workshop for those interested in polishing their resume and interview skills in preparation for the Career Fair.

Save the date:

September 14, 1-4 PM: Resume and Interview Prep workshop

September 30, 10 AM – 2 PM: STEM Career Fair
(Registration is required; call 703-323-3281 or email NOVA_CustomizedTraining@nvcc.edu.)

Both events will be held at NOVA’s Annandale Campus, at the Ernst Community Cultural Center.

STEM Career Fair, Northern Virginia Community College

Workforce Development Division Launches New Business Coalition

The NOVA Workforce Development Business Coalition (NOVA-WDBC) is a newly formed group comprised of NOVA representatives, business industry and government professionals. The WDBC works together to determine, develop, and implement training and education solutions for production of a skilled workforce in the areas of industry need. The WDBC is needed to provide NOVA WDD with direct input from the business industry on what training and education programs need to be developed and delivered to the workforce to produce the skills being sought by employers. The NOVA-WDBC will focus on the skills gaps and high need areas in a clear and timely fashion in order to help produce more qualified skilled workforce personnel for industry and government.  The first meeting of the WD Business Coalition will be December 3, 2013 at the Ernst Center on the NOVA Annandale Campus, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  For more information please contact Cinthia Molinari via email camolinari@nvcc.edu  or phone 703-323-3281.