Partnership Brings Grant-Funded Tech Labs to Virginia Schools

Through a GO Virginia grant, middle school students in the city of Danville and Pittsylvania County will have the opportunity to advance their skills in tech labs designed to fuel career opportunities. 

A Virginia Growth and Opportunity (GO) grant of $648,000 will be split between the counties of Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania and the city of Danville for a joint program: Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO-TEC).

GO-TEC Program Helps Expand Curriculum in Higher Education Centers

The grant was awarded to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and its partners in the GO-TEC program, which includes Danville Community College, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Southside Virginia Community College, New College Institute and Patrick Henry Community College.

The GO-TEC program is designed to expand existing curriculum offered by six higher education partners, build a regional training system of scale for careers in Information Technology and focused areas of advanced manufacturing.

Tech Labs Teach Students Future Career Skills

With their funds from grant, the city of Danville and Pittsylvania County will launch tech labs at the middle schools in their school districts, which will help prepare students and arm them with skills for the future, according to Danville Schools Superintendent Stanley Jones.

“It will enable us to establish exploration labs – one at Westwood and the other at Bonner – to expose kids to career and technology opportunities starting in sixth grade,” he said.

The GO-TEC Career Exploration Labs in Danville's middle schools will include information technology, precision machining, cybersecurity automation and robotics, welding, engineering and health and medical sciences.

“We want the kids to have exposure to all the career options available to them,” said Joyce Culley, coordinator of career and technical education for Danville Public Schools. “Hopefully, they will be able to choose an area of interest with the end result improving economic development in the area. They can have a sustainable income.”

In Pittsylvania, students will have the opportunity to explore welding, machining, IT and have access to cutting edge technology, such as apps they can use while wearing 3-D glasses to virtually dissect a brain.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for our students,” Angela Rigney, director of career, technical and adult education for Pittsylvania County Schools, said. “We’re excited. As soon as we finish up the school year and get the money, we’ll begin buying the equipment for the lab.”

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