The Region 2000 Technology Council, our Future Focus Foundation and partners within the regional community are working hard to create a regional STEM-H Academy that will prepare students for local careers with a focus on science, technology, engineering, math and healthcare. The STEM-H Academy, CVCC president, Dr. John Capps and our own Jonathan Whitt were recently featured in Lynchburg Business Magazine:
“Four years ago, a recession hit that rocked the norms of the culture and expectations of young job-seekers across the country. All of a sudden the words “hiring freeze” were commonplace and young people were given the cold shoulder by an indifferent job market. Emerging from that period has been about as easy as scaling a rock wall, but the Region 2000 Technology Council is doing all they can to ensure economic vitality for the future here in Central Virginia.
Now, the Council is partnering with Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), the Future Focus Foundation, the school divisions of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and Lynchburg, and area businesses to open the region’s first STEM-H Academy. The Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Healthcare Academy will be located on the campus of CVCC and connect local high school students with employers who desperately need skilled workers. Curriculum will be taught on a half-day schedule. According to the Council, “the goal of this institution will be to help close the gap between education and industry, furthering the economic vitality of this region.”
The STEM-H Academy is the first of its kind in the region. Unlike other educational opportunities for high school students, the STEM-H Academy will offer real world, practical skills to help both the job seeker acquire work and local businesses find skilled labor. While the governor’s schools are meant for “upper echelon” students, Region 2000 Technology Council Executive Director Jonathan Whitt says the STEM-H Academy is designed for students of various academic abilities.
According to CVCC President Dr. John Capps, “the academy is the logical extension of Region 2000’s emphasis upon STEM education, which begins in elementary school and extends through high school and college. From that standpoint, the creation of the STEM-H Academy will take Region 2000 one step closer to a true K-14 educational continuum.”
Students will learn both practical industry skills as well as have the opportunity to earn college credit through dual enrollment. According to Capps they “may lead to a Career Studies Certificate or conceivably even to an associate’s degree if students complete additional coursework at their home high schools or CVCC.”
“Imagine what an edge this provides these students. They can earn a workforce and college credential at the same time they graduate from high school,” Capps said.
Students will be given a leg up in learning practical skills and intricacies of local industries. The aim is that before students go to college they will know enough about healthcare to determine if they’d like to major in nursing or go into the IT field.
“The STEM-H Academy will have two initial areas of study: mechatronics (the blending of mechanical and electrical engineering) and healthcare,” Whitt explained, adding that local businesses, such as AREVA, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, Centra and Delta Star, will interact with students on a variety of levels, “bringing in speakers and lecturers, lab work or possible internships.” (Continue reading at LynchburgBusinessMag.com)