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NVCC Consortium Receives Grant

Department of Labor’s $12 million grant will go to training IT workers.

Dr. Melvyn Schiavelli, executive vice president for Northern Virginia Community College, speaks at the SAIC building in Tysons Corner Thursday, Sept. 27, after NVCC received a $12 million grant from the Department of Labor.

Dr. Melvyn Schiavelli, executive vice president for Northern Virginia Community College, speaks at the SAIC building in Tysons Corner Thursday, Sept. 27, after NVCC received a $12 million grant from the Department of Labor. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

A consortium led by Northern Virginia Community College received a $12 million grant from the Department of Labor Thursday, Thursday, Sept. 27. The consortium is a partner of the Northern Virginia Family Services Training Futures program, which trains workers in science, technology, engineering and technology fields, and has graduated more than 1,500 people since its launch in 1996.

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Hilda Solis, secretary of labor, announces a grant of $12 million for a consortium headed by Northern Virginia Community College that helps train IT workers Thursday, Sept. 27.

The programs’ facilities are located in donated space at the SAIC building in Tysons Corner. SAIC CEO John Jumper said that this program will be essential to the area’s technological future.

“It’s estimated that there will be 300,000 jobs in IT areas by 2020. In contrast, the Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University together each year will graduate about 1,200,” he said. “What this grant allows us to do is to extend [Training Futures] to Manassas and to focus on IT workers so that this region can have the supply of IT workers it needs going into the future.”

Training Futures graduate Taehum Park credited the programs with helping update his skills in a field where it is always necessary to be on the cutting edge.

“Training Futures has given me real skills in modern IT, they didn’t change my hard drive, but basically they gave me a reformat,” he said.

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11), Sharon LeGrande of Northern Virginia Family Services, and John Jumper, chairman and CEO of SAIC, talk to a student enrolled in the Training Futures program during a visit to the facility in Tyson's Corner.

Once people complete the program, which can include up to 25 credits at NVCC, there are local companies that have programs looking for them. Multivision, a Fairfax-based IT company, has its own experience with hiring previously unemployed IT workers. They started local development program which put more than 200 unemployed workers in IT jobs. Ashwin Bharath, director of information technology, spoke at the grant announcement and recalled how they started the program.

“Training Futures has given me real skills in modern IT, they didn’t change my hard drive, but basically they gave me a reformat.”

--Training Futures graduate Taehum Park

“At the peak of the recession in 2008, we looked into hiring unemployed IT programmers that had legacy skills, but not the latest skills. But to our great surprise, we found that these programmers never had the skills required in the current industry,” he said. “So we started a pilot program, hiring four past IT programmers, unemployed, and trained them for eight full weeks. We found after the training, we employed all four of them.”

More information on Northern Virginia Family Services can be found at www.nvfs.org.