creating opportunity

The Advanced Learning division delivers educational and talent development initiatives centered on meeting the needs of regional employers. As the region’s epicenter for training and educating a skilled workforce, IALR collaborates with numerous partners to increase STEM capacity, connect students to careers, and promote lifelong and service learning across the region.

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Meet our

Vice President, Advanced Learning

Julie Brown, Ph.D.

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Office: 434.766.6711
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Meet The Team

Connecting People to Resources

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All Educational Programs and Services

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Innovative Career Introductions

in Virginia Middle Schools

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Upcoming Events

20 Jun
Imagination Lavender Farm Tour
Jun 20 @ 6:00PM - 7:00PM

Career and Work-based Learning

Through the EmPOWER framework, the Advanced Learning division systematically builds pipelines of students, connecting them to employers and careers. This work-based learning system involves three phases – career awareness, career exposure, and career experience – that lead to employment. Programs in this system include the Career ChoICE Youth Expo, AspHIRE Mock Interview Days and internship and apprenticeship support.

Connecting Students and Employers

STEM Programming

IALR works with partners to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) capacity across Southern Virginia. We facilitate a variety of formal and informal learning opportunities that expose students to STEM concepts – and how those concepts relate to career opportunities – starting at a young age. Ranging from summer STEM camps to tutoring programs to dual enrollment programs to experiential middle school classes, these initiatives inspire and educate students in relevant STEM ideas.

STEM Programs


A talent pathway initiative focused on strategic sectors like manufacturing, engineering and technology, the Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC®) program begins in middle school Career Connections Labs and continues through high school, dual enrollment and postsecondary programs. GO TEC Career Connections Labs in Virginia middle schools provide students with innovative, hands-on exposure to careers in areas like welding, automation, machining, robotics, and many others – and help them identify the steps needed to pursue those careers.


"This experience allowed me to make a real-world impact in my community and provided a basis for the problem-solving process I will have to go through as an engineer in my future career."
Cora Wilson / Academy for Engineering and Technology, Graduate
"We got to solve a real-world business problem, and it felt cool because we were doing something that meant something in school. And we found the root of the problem like we were supposed to. We contributed a lot of new knowledge and ideas."
Gavin Shields / Academy for Engineering and Technology
"When they made their presentation, my biggest regret was that I didn’t bring my management team with me. It was a great professional presentation with some strong data."
Alan Pearce / FasTech LLC
"They did a good job thinking outside of the box. That’s what impressed me the most, was the fresh eyes and fresh perspective from which they looked at the problem. I would do this program again in a heartbeat."
Adam Goebel / Danville Science Center 
"“I want to be able to go to the next level and provide more care, and I wouldn’t have been able to get my paramedic without this program.”"
Andy Pendleton / Fire Marshal and Paramedic Apprentice, Franklin County
"“This paid on-the-job training is a great way for me to absorb this information and get more hands-on instruction. I’m glad to be able to come in all day and focus on this, get a better experience and more ride time. All while getting a paycheck.”"
Lily Hensley / EMT Apprentice with the Danville Life Saving Crew
"We have two interns, and we would absolutely hire them. They have been fantastic overall—polite, motivated and hard workers."
Robin Marcato / Danville Historical Society
"Overall, this internship has been a great experience for the Chamber and for our intern. We look forward to hosting interns again in the future."
Crystal Hairston / Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce
"The EmPOWER framework has been instrumental in connecting Sovah Health with our local students to showcase the breadth of healthcare career opportunities available right here in our community.  "
Corey Santoriello / Sovah Health
"Being able to participate in the Career ChoICE, AspHIRE Mock Interview Day, and Summer Internships through the IALR has been an invaluable addition to the work of PATHS and the South Central AHEC. These programs keep us coming back, as they have allowed us to connect with, inspire, and support…"
Anjanette Farmer / PATHS
"This EMT apprenticeship program will benefit the participants by providing mandatory training for an EMT position. Adding a cohort of new EMTs like this enables the Danville Life Saving Crew to grow its team and provide qualified emergency medical personnel for our community. Working with Tori and the Institute has…"
Johnny Mills / Danville Life Saving Crew
"We believe that apprenticeship programs like this are essential to our future success. We understand that by investing in the next generation of talent, we are not only shaping our own success but fostering a culture of learning and development. Our apprenticeship programs are not just a part of our…"
Neville Moe / Litehouse Foods
"I can’t speak highly enough of all the help we have received from IALR in getting our apprenticeship program started. It’s been wonderful. When you as an employer invest back into your workforce, you see huge returns."
Justin Hylton / Southside Mechanical Services
"“Something that was beneficial for me was learning to ask questions at the end of my interview.”"
Chasity Robertson / Nottoway County
""The trip to Asphire was both informative and fun. It helped me widen my horizon about the working field and opened my eyes to new possibilities.""
King Catubig / Lunenburg County
"The AspHIRE mock interview day provides valuable experience to high school students across Southern Virginia, exposing them to important workplace skills and allowing them to experience an authentic interview process."
Jessie Vernon / IALR
"IALR is the type of education facility that can transform a region."
Barry DuVal / Virginia Chamber
"Pittsylvania County Public Schools greatly appreciates the partnership established with the Advanced Learning Department of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. This department provides many STEM opportunities for teachers and students to extend learning and explore new areas."
Dr. Mark Jones / Pittsylvania County Public Schools

Investing in Communities

The Advanced Learning division is committed to investing in Southern Virginia through programs that promote lifelong and service-based learning and connect people with resources. Through the REACH Partnership, IALR collaborates with partners to address community health and increase access to resources, information and education. Two separate AmeriCorps programs address community needs of public health education and literacy assistance, while computer workshops and the Wonder Community of Lifelong Learning provide opportunities for people to connect and learn new skills. 

Lifelong and Service Learning 


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