Gov. Ralph Northam announced today partnerships with 11 Virginia universities to create the commonwealth’s tech talent pipeline, producing at least 25,000 additional computer science graduates over the next 20 years.
Virginia Commonwealth University is part of this consortium and has committed to producing an additional 722 bachelor’s degree graduates in computer science and computer engineering during this time.
As part of its commitment to the Tech Talent Investment Program, VCU will receive $26 million over the next 20 years to expand its computer science and computer engineering programs to increase the number of students graduating in these fields.
“This initiative is an investment in Virginians,” Northam said. “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.”
If each university meets its projected goal, the total number of new degrees earned will hit 31,000, exceeding the legislative goal of 25,000, Northam said during the ceremony at Virginia State University.
The presence of a highly skilled workforce was key to Amazon choosing Northern Virginia as the home of its next headquarters.
Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of the VCU College of Engineering, said, “The Amazon announcement signaled a new era for the commonwealth’s companies and those who are educating its incoming professionals, but Virginia’s need for home-grown, high-tech employees extends beyond the country’s biggest retailer.
“As a major pipeline for Central Virginia’s highly skilled workforce, VCU is meeting this need. Today’s announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing technology talent to the industries, large and small, that were instrumental in the founding of our College of Engineering.”
Beyond computer scientists and engineers, VCU’s College of Engineering is committed to enhancing digital fluency of all VCU graduates. The College of Engineering offers a four-course Fundamentals of Computing credential to allow students of any major to gain industry-recognized knowledge, skills and abilities required in today’s workforce. The college also offers post-baccalaureate certificates in cybersecurity and data science so those already in the workforce can increase their skills to keep pace with growing technology.
The 11 participating colleges and universities and their commitments:
- 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