GO Virginia Awards CCAM $1.15 Million to Expand STEM Education to Central Virginia K-12 Students, with GO TEC™
In June, Virginia’s Governor Youngkin announced the Growth and Opportunity Virginia Grants awardees. The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) was awarded $1,150,571 to expand STEM career pathways education in five Central Virginia (Region 4) school divisions. The grant will help answer the severe shortfall of people pursuing STEM careers by creating a pipeline of interest in students starting in middle school. CCAM will utilize the proven GO TEC model created by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, VA. GO TEC Career Connections engages 6th to 8th grade students with exciting, project-based, hands-on STEM learning in partnership with local industries to foster a future talent pipeline.
The GO TEC model originated in 2017 in GO Virginia Region 3, and currently encompasses 25 middle schools. With this latest expansion, GO TEC reach will approach 50 schools across the state, including five new schools in Region 4. Under this grant, the counties of Dinwiddie and Surry and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg will construct dedicated GO TEC Career Connections Labs. Greensville County is constructing a lab that was supported under the earlier grant. In 2022, CCAM was chosen as the GO TEC In-Region Coordinating Entity with support from Brightpoint Community College and Virginia State University College of Engineering and Technology. CCAM is currently constructing a GO TEC demonstration lab at their world-class research facility in Disputanta, Virginia. This lab will train school divisions’ teachers to deliver the GO TEC content and support the regional labs.
The GO Virginia grant will provide much needed resources for GO TEC career pathways to school divisions in Central Virginia’s Crater District. Funds will purchase equipment and outfit labs in each of the five divisions’ middle schools. CCAM’s interest is to increase the pool of qualified workers to support a variety of sectors related to advanced manufacturing. All of the GO TEC Career Connections focus areas are designed to develop skills in high-demand industries that are of strategic importance to Virginia.
Region 4’s community partners clearly recognize the importance of GO TEC and STEM career education for younger students. The Cameron Foundation and the John Randolph Foundation are teaming up to generously support GO TEC in the Region. CCAM has coordinated in-kind match contributions of both federal funds from all participating school divisions.
“CCAM understands the need for a comprehensive workforce. Our education programs include an end-to-end solution to the advanced manufacturing pathways in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said CCAM President & CEO John Milton-Benoit. “The GO TEC K-12 model engages students, many for the first time, in how exciting the field of advanced manufacturing can be. We also offer an apprentice style Central VA FAME program with Richard Bland College to train advanced manufacturing technicians. CCAM continues to offer real world experience through our immersive internships, graduation research assistant and fellowship programs. Together, CCAM’s education programs help to stimulate growth in the workforce pipeline where students are offered modern, industry driven content from elementary schools all the way through doctoral programs. Their career potential is endless.”
“With the advent of technology and the innovation of industry, GO TEC career paths offer exciting and evolving opportunities for today’s students,” said Telly Tucker, President, IALR. “We are thrilled to partner with CCAM, GO Virginia, Central Virginia and others to expand this robust talent pipeline model and to continue to help define Virginia as the business-friendly and workforce-focused state that it is.”
This project was funded in part by GO Virginia, a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that strengthens and diversifies
Virginia’s economy and fosters the creation of higher wage jobs in strategic industries.
CCAM issues a special thank you to GO Virginia for funding this important industry led regional effort, the staff at DHCD, GO Virginia Region 4, and GROW Capital Jobs for their tireless effort in support of the Commonwealth’s goals.