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Northern Virginia Community College gains $12M STEM grant

Northern Virginia Community College will lead a national consortium of community colleges in the disbursement of a $12.3 million U.S. Department of Labor grant focused on STEM career fields.

The consortium includes six college systems: NVCC, Austin Community College in Texas, Seattle’s Shoreline Community College, the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Michigan’s Muskegon Community College and Mott Community College, and Virginia Western Community College in southwest Virginia.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis toured Northern Virginia Family Services’ Training Futures facility in McLean to highlight a $12.3 million grant Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) recently received from the Department of Labor.

NOVA’s initiative “Credential to Careers” will lead a consortium with six other colleges to develop new, employer-driven career pathways in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The four-year grant was awarded earlier in October.

“[The grant] is really meant to train students on how to get jobs” in science, technology, engineering, math and healthcare fields, said Deborah Rosen, NVCC’s director of grants and special projects. “I think it’s the largest grant we’ve ever received.”

NVCC officials said the grant is generating excitement about the community college’s ability to expand existing STEM programs as well as connecting students with community-based programs outside of the classroom.

“Some of the things we’re doing that this grant will allow us to bring to scale are our — for example — Training Futures [program],” said NVCC’s Special Assistant for Career and Technical Education Milan Hayward, who is directing the grant programming. The Northern Virginia Family Service’s Training Futures program combines education and training in administrative support technologies. “It’s kind of an entry point for people who don’t think college is an opportunity available to them.”

The grant is part of the U.S. Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which focuses on training workers who have lost their jobs to overseas competition.

According to NVCC, the consortium focuses on education and career training programs for TAA-eligible workers in regions employing a great number of high-tech workers in STEM industries.

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