Home Virginia technology company donates $1M to national nonprofit for lab school initiative
Schools, Virginia

Virginia technology company donates $1M to national nonprofit for lab school initiative

Rebecca Barnabi
(© Sashkin– stock.adobe.com)

NAF, a national nonprofit focused on preparing high school students for college and career success, has received a donation of $1 million from RTX.

The donation will allow NAF to kickstart a STEM education program in Virginia schools and the Commonwealth’s K-12 College Partnership Laboratory School Initiative.

RTX has a long history of investing in education in Virginia with more than $17.6 million through its Employee Scholar Program at Virginia institutions, resulting in more than 700 degrees. More than 200 RTX employees attend Virginia institutions under the program. RTX partners with universities like Virginia Tech, charitable organizations like Girls Who Code, FIRST robotics, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as well as other groups in Virgina to support the next generation of STEM leaders.

“The future of aerospace and defense innovation will be defined by the young people in Virginia schools and beyond,” RTX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes said. “Our partnership with the state and NAF will deliver career-themed curriculum through academies of engineering and related business disciplines in public high schools right here in the Commonwealth.”

Lab schools are a top priority for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who secured $100 million for the initiative. The first inaugural lab school was announced in July 2023. The VCU x CodeRVA Lab School is a joint venture between the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center for Teacher Leadership at the VCU School of Education RTR Teacher Residency program and the CodeRVA Regional High School.

Six lab school applications were submitted and 16 lab school planning grants approved, and a significant proportion of applicants are pursuing STEM-centered instructional models and are aligned to meet workforce needs.

“Private sector leadership is critical to bringing innovation to Virginia public schools, and I am grateful for RTX’s donation to NAF to support STEM in Virginia schools,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said. “Our lab school initiative is focused on creating pathways to the most in demand careers, technical training, and STEM exposure for Virginia students. The Virginia Department of Education will work closely with NAF on a plan to support lab school and STEM development in Virginia public schools.”

RTX’s partnership with Virginia Tech includes:

  • Master Research Agreements with each of RTX’s businesses covering everything from power electronics to AI to advanced engines.
  • Pratt & Whitney’s Center of Excellence at Virginia Tech supports research in advanced instrumentation for gas turbine engine propulsion.
  • A cleared intern pipeline development and fellowship program.


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.