In partnership with community employers, economic developers, K-12 divisions and higher education institutions, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and GO Virginia Region 3 will utilize $3.4 million in recently announced GO Virginia funds to scale the Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC™) framework into additional localities across the Commonwealth. These funds will allow for the addition of In-Region Coordinating Entities (IRCEs) and IALR GO TEC staff in three GO Virginia regions (1,4, and 5), building the infrastructure and administrative capacity to expand the existing, proven GO TEC model.
“The GO TEC framework has been incredibly successful, both as a pilot program right here in Danville and Pittsylvania County and as we have partnered with other localities across Virginia,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Vice President of Advanced Learning at IALR. “With this additional funding from GO Virginia, we will be able to support the current and anticipated expansion into dozens of K12 schools across multiple regions of the Commonwealth. I’m excited to see how GO TEC makes a positive, direct impact on the students, educational systems, economic development efforts, and overall success of these regions, just like it has in Southern Virginia.”
“GO TEC Virginia 2025 demonstrates that like-minded leaders from education, business, non-profit organizations, and government can work together to create for our students a clear pathway to high-paying jobs in their hometowns,” said Tim Clark, Chair of GO Virginia Region 3 Council. “GO Virginia Region 3 is pleased to have supported the growth of a partnership between IALR staff and Southern Virginia’s school divisions and community colleges to make GO TEC a success for our students and businesses – a partnership that will now be expanded to benefit other regions in Virginia.”
The GO TEC program is expanding into the following GO Virginia regions and localities:
- Region 1 (Southwest Virginia): Counties of Buchanan, Carroll, Grayson and Wythe
- Region 4 (Central Virginia): Counties of Dinwiddie, Greensville and Surry, and the cities of Colonial Heights and Hopewell and Petersburg
- Region 5 (Hampton Roads area): Cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth
GO TEC delivers workforce training and talent development through a collaborative, hub-and-spoke model that involves K-12 school systems, higher education and industry. Starting in middle school Career Connections Labs and continuing through high school, dual enrollment, and post-secondary programs, GO TEC engages students in hands-on learning in high-demand career pathways such as precision machining, welding, IT and cybersecurity, robotics and automation, mechatronics, and advanced materials.
GO Virginia, Virginia’s initiative for growth and opportunity in each region, is an economic development initiative through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development that supports programs to create more high-paying jobs through incentivized collaboration between business, education and government. This expansion of GO TEC is the result of $3,474,821 in GO Virginia grant funding, which was part of more than $5 million in GO Virginia grants announced by Governor Youngkin in December 2022. The state funds are matched with $2,4426,079 in local and federal funds from the partner organizations. The GO TEC program already has a strong presence in GO Virginia Region 3, including in Danville, Pittsylvania County, Martinsville City school divisions and several others.
As of spring 2023, GO TEC Labs are available in 25 middle schools across 19 school divisions. These recently awarded funds will allow the GO TEC program to expand into additional localities in the southwest, central, and Greater Hampton Roads areas of the Commonwealth. As a result of these funds, IALR anticipates that the GO TEC program will be available in 50 middle schools by 2025.
IALR and GO Virginia Region 3 will remain the primary administrators, but these funds will allow for the creation of three additional training labs across the Commonwealth, bringing the total to four. These funds will also establish GO Virginia In-Region Coordinating Entities (IRCEs) that will partner with IALR to drive GO TEC expansion – supporting teachers, validating talent pathway opportunities, and quantifying Virginia’s return on investment in the form of job creation, job placement and private sector investment. The United Way of Southwest Virginia will serve as the IRCE in Region 1. The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) will serve as the IRCE in Region 4. Old Dominion University Research Foundation (ODURF) will serve as the IRCE in Region 5.
“The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), with support from Virginia State University and Brightpoint Community College, are proud to be the In-Region Coordinating Entity for GO TEC Virginia 2025,” said CCAM President & CEO John Milton-Benoit. “This initiative strengthens our ties with our K-12 partners and will generate excitement for students to enter into STEM-related careers. We applaud the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research for their vision of a long-term workforce pipeline solution for advanced manufacturing companies in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
“ODU is excited to support the expansion of the successful GO TEC program into Hampton Roads to grow tech and engineering careers,” said Morris Foster, Vice President for Research at ODU. “This grant will help ODU and our partners continue to bolster the talent pipeline for the skilled trades that power our region.”
“United Way of Southwest Virginia is excited for what this funding means for our region’s workforce,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Virginia. “Technology and engineering tend to produce high-paying jobs, something our area needs. GO TEC is known for creating pipelines of skilled workers to empower these industries and the United Way of Southwest Virginia is known for researching, building, and scaling programs. This is a powerful collaboration that can help our region gain a competitive edge.”
The existing program coordinator, program manager, and technical and training manager will continue operating out of IALR. Each region will have an additional training coordinator and program coordinator that will support GO TEC activities in their respective regions. These funds will not only be used to scale the program, but will develop an effective data evaluation plan and model to monitor and evaluate results.
GO TEC began as a successful pilot program with middle school Career Connections Labs and curriculum development starting in 2018 in Danville and Pittsylvania County. With a $4.9 million GO Virginia grant in 2019, the program was expanded throughout GO Virginia Region 3 and into regions 1 and 4.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, advanced manufacturing, conference center services and economic development efforts. IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. For more information, visit www.ialr.org.