With an investment of $425,000 from the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board, Marymount University is leading the way in designing a program to help college students from across the area develop technology skills they’ll need to be ready for the workplace upon graduation.
The Tech Set program, which is scheduled to begin during the Spring 2022 semester, will allow economically disadvantaged juniors and seniors from colleges and universities in Northern Virginia to participate in a two-month educational program that emphasizes work readiness, job tools, career preparation and mentorship. So far, three companies – Clarabridge, Brazen and CALIBRE – and three venture capital funds – Ruxton Ventures, ABS Capital Partners and Aldrich Capital Partners – have committed to interview Tech Set graduates for internships and entry-level jobs upon program completion. The University is aiming for a total of 10 partners overall before Tech Set is launched.
The initiative is expected to support 200 participants, create 100 internship opportunities and place 100 graduates into full-time jobs. Students must be Pell Grant-eligible to be a part of the Tech Set program.
“We conceptualized this program based on my prior experience as a venture investor and economic development advisor, and my research found that it’s critically important for students to demonstrate the kind of career readiness skills that Virginia employers have identified as essential,” explained Jonathan Aberman, Dean of Marymount University’s College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology (BILT). “There are numerous interpersonal skills and professional competencies that the Commonwealth’s soon-to-be graduates need to possess in addition to their academic degree. But once they’re armed with them, the sky’s the limit for their professional success.”
“Since our university was founded, Marymount has always fostered a career-focused environment – and for years, we’ve emphasized the high value and importance of internships as a way to unlock post-graduation job possibilities,” added Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “I believe in the power of students acquiring entrepreneurship skills to start new firms or to take an intrapreneurial approach for already-existing companies. The Tech Set initiative, I believe, will allow graduates to prepare themselves even further for what’s ahead.”
Funds for this economic development project were coordinated through GO Virginia Region 7, the regional initiative to increase local job opportunities and develop Northern Virginia as a leading region for technology startup growth and development.
“With our strong higher education institutions and investment from local governments, high-tech companies continue to see Northern Virginia as a great place to do business,” said Sid Banerjee, GO Virginia Region 7 committee chair. “By funding these initiatives, GO Virginia and our partners in the private sector, education and government are equipped to grow our regional economy and ensure Northern Virginia remains a great place to find great jobs.”
For more information on other development projects aiming to diversify Virginia’s economy by strengthening the state’s private sector, click here.