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.

Terry McAuliffe: "We've got 900,000 Virginians retiring in the next 10 years, which will create 400,000 to 500,000 new jobs -- 60% of these jobs will require less than a 4-year degree."

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 its 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 the career fair 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. 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)

Techtober

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.

 


I originally wrote this article for NOVA Workforce Development Division’s blog.

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