Northam announces plans to graduate 31K in computer science


Photo Credit: niroworld

Virginia will invest in the Commonwealth’s tech talent pipeline to create 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years, under agreements with 11 universities.

The Tech Talent Investment Program will benefit students and tech employers in every corner of the Commonwealth. It grew out of Virginia’s proposal to Amazon, which will locate its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.

The program is a performance-based initiative designed to create at least 25,000 new bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields over the next 20 years. The agreements with the 11 universities will create 31,000 new degrees in these fields, exceeding the legislative goal. Funding for the Tech Talent Investment Program was provided in the Virginia budget approved earlier this year.

“This initiative is an investment in Virginians,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “Virginia’s tech sector will continue booming only if we can train the workforce those jobs require. With today’s announcement, we are educating a workforce that will fill jobs at hundreds of tech companies around the Commonwealth, including at Amazon, helping boost our economy and quality of life in every corner of Virginia.”

“The Tech Talent program creates clear pathways for Virginia students to obtain high-wage jobs by equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed in high-demand fields,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “This agreement with many of our public higher education institutions will support business and industry in Virginia, while preparing our students to enter the 21st century workforce.”

The boom in tech industries in recent years has increased demand for workers, and the Tech Talent program will help Virginia keep pace. Colleges and universities applied to the state for funding to expand their existing computer science degree programs. Subsequent agreements will be established with other institutions, including the community colleges.

“These 11 institutions, and others that will follow, demonstrate the qualities that make Virginia’s higher education system among the best in the nation: innovation, responsiveness, alignment with state needs and performance,” said Peter Blake, Director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

“As the technology industry in the Richmond region and across the Commonwealth continues to grow, so do our workforce needs,” said Nick Serfass, Executive Director of the Richmond Technology Council. “This investment demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to continuing the growth of tech businesses and strengthening the talent and education of its workforce.”

The 11 colleges that received funds in this round, and the degrees over their baseline that they have committed to produce, are:

  • Virginia Tech: 5,911 bachelor’s degrees, 10,324 master’s degrees
  • George Mason University: 2,277 bachelor’s degrees, 5,328 master’s degrees
  • The University of Virginia: 3,416 bachelor’s degrees
  • College of William & Mary: 930 bachelor’s degrees
  • Old Dominion University: 765 bachelor’s degrees
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: 722 bachelor’s degrees
  • James Madison University: 467 bachelor’s degrees
  • Radford University: 394 bachelor’s degrees
  • Christopher Newport University: 392 bachelor’s degrees
  • Virginia State University: 186 bachelor’s degrees
  • Norfolk State University: 126 bachelor’s degrees

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