GO TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology & Engineering Careers), a workforce development initiative begun in GO (Growth & Opportunity) Virginia’s Region 3, has received the largest grant award to date—$4.9 million—from the GO Virginia Competitive Funding pool. The grant will fund Phase II of the program, which will now include GO Virginia’s Region 1 and Region 4.
“We are excited that our team of higher education partners identified this opportunity and that we were able to demonstrate to the leaders of GO Virginia that GO TEC can successfully scale up to create an extensive talent marketing message for these three regions,” said the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research’s (IALR) Dr. Julie Brown, interim director of the GO TEC team.
GO TEC uses a hub-and-spoke model to progressively generate a talent pipeline for in-demand career fields like precision machining, welding, IT/cybersecurity, advanced materials, robotics, automation and mechatronics. Middle schoolers are introduced to the occupations in Career Connection Labs and are connected in high school to dual-enrollment training opportunities with higher education partners. They can then progress to advanced level training.
Seven higher education institution partners include Southside Virginia Community College, Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, Wytheville Community College, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, the New College Institute in Martinsville and IALR. Business and K-12 leadership will be added to the soon-to-be-formed GO TEC Board. Phase I culminated in the successful pilot of new middle school Career Connection Labs and curriculum development in the Danville-Pittsylvania County area. Phase II will scale that model and eventually establish 16 middle school Career Connection Labs throughout Regions 1, 3 and 4.