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New opportunity for information technology students

By PATRICK FORD

patrick@southwesttimes.com

Governor Northam has announced a grant for Career and Technical Education, and Radford Public Schools is a recipient. In a $1.5 million package, seven school districts, three of which are here in Southwest Virginia. The funds will create different career and technical programs for each school. Radford public schools were awarded $90,000 for their program focusing on program to help students earn an associate degree in information technology.

For this program, Radford Public Schools will be working with New River Community College and the 1901 Group. From NRCC Dean of Business and Technologies, Debbie Bond, “We look forward to helping offer Radford City students a chance to gain marketable employment skills in information technology and to provide them with this educational pipeline than can give students a head start on earning an associate degree.”

The Career and Technical Education High School Innovation Grant program provides one-time funding for school divisions to help students earn a high school diploma, industry-recognized credential and an associate degree in five years or less. The programs also provide work-based learning experiences for students, including mentorships and paid internships.

The program begins in 9th grade as students start to take the prerequisites. Students will also be involved in industry visits, guest speakers, and career assessments. While in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, students will be taking dual enrollment courses, as well as complete work-based learning activities with local industries.

Students will be expected to take dual-enrolled English and math courses as well as dual-enrolled IT courses such as “Careers and Cyber Ethics,” “Introduction to Network Concepts,” “Personal Computer Hardware and Troubleshooting,” and “Personal Computer Hardware and Troubleshooting.”   IT5 students will work closely with the RHS Career Coach, who will serve as a mentor to the cohort during their time in high school. Through this mentorship students will have opportunities to participate in career exploration, team-building, campus visits, transition services, and more. The students will also be encouraged to develop mentoring relationships with IT professionals at NRCC before they transition to the fifth year.

After completing the curriculum by 12th grade, students will only need to have one year of community college to complete their associates degree. Associate degrees usually require two years of study.

“New River Community College has appreciated a long-standing, positive relationship with Radford City Public Schools. This grant award is great news for our community, and we look forward to building additional pathways for student success with RCPS. We are always pleased to have more opportunities to collaborate and strengthen our programmatic relationships with our public schools.” Pat Huber, NRCC President regarding how this will help students.

The $90,000 award funds a year of planning and an additional year of program implementation.  Students will begin entering the program in school year 2022-2023.  RCPS Superintendent Rob Graham is enthusiastic about this program. “We are absolutely ecstatic about receiving this award and are excited to work with such wonderful, supportive business partners in NRCC and 1901 Group.”

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