Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) recently kicked off a public-private partnership to increase the number of students in the region exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Having taken place for several years now, the program, called SySTEMic Solutions, consists of a partnership with Micron Technology, local school systems and other area high-tech businesses.
SySTEMic Solutions programs include robotics leagues and competitions, summer camps, early college credit courses, internships and site visits to local companies.” That program has 4,000 students in the pipeline, and the goal is to grow the pipeline to 40,000 by 2016,” said Amy Harris, director of SySTEMic Solutions.
Representatives of school systems and chambers of commerce from throughout Northern Virginia, as well as the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), participated in the kickoff. Area universities who participated include George Mason, George Washington, Marymount and the University of Virginia.
The demand for STEM related jobs will increase in the coming years, so the education of students in STEM fields is vital to the economic future of the country. Dr. Robert G. Templin Jr., president of Northern Virginia Community College, spoke about this issue and said, “a feasibility study found that the region will have 650,000 job vacancies in the next 10 years, with the vast plurality of those in STEM-related fields, such as information technology and the sciences.”
In July 2012, the Virginia General Assembly appropriated $1 million over two years to expand the program regionally. Another $1 million is to be raised from other sources, and Micron announced last week that they were donating $120,000 toward that goal.