The Virginia Board of Workforce Development recently released its 2013-2014 Annual Report. The theme of the report, Elevate Virginia: Skills for Jobs and Business Growth, aligns with Virginia’s new workforce brand. The report demonstrates the state’s focus on preparing Virginian’s for occupations through credentials that demonstrate in-demand skills. This is a top priority for all of Virginia’s career and technical education and workforce programs and one that you will hear much of in the coming year.
The following Annual Report success story demonstrates the increase in the number of students with science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare skills.
The Apprentice School of Newport News Shipbuilding is helping to pave the way for local high school students interested in entering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. With support from The Apprentice School, students from Phoebus High School are able to participate in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST® Robotics Competition or FRC). FRC encourages students to work in engineering prototype teams to gain practical experience in Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CAD), computer-controlled manufacturing and construction of robots using hand and power tools.
Kevin Bond, an electrical craft instructor with The Apprentice School, donates many hours of his time to mentoring Phoebus students involved with the FRC. Approximately 80 students have joined the Phoebus Robotics team since 2007. According to Don Williams, the initiator and head coach of the Phoebus team, approximately 80 percent of team participants seek college degrees in STEM fields.
Many attend Virginia institutions such as The Apprentice School, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Virginia and Old Dominion University. Additionally, approximately 10 percent have gained employment in STEM-related fields immediately upon graduating high school.
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