It was only about one year ago that the idea for Marymount University’s TechSet program was developed, with a mission of preparing college juniors and seniors to succeed as new employees in fast-moving technology jobs in the national capital region.
Now, after just one pilot semester, it’s already receiving incredible acclaim from area business leaders.
At the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mid-Atlantic Innovation Celebration Awards show on May 12, in partnership with Connectpreneur, the TechSet program took home the Education Technology Innovation Award for its ingenuity and creativity. A panel of 12 regional leaders judged applications from a diverse industry and business pool before naming finalists who appeared at the Awards show in Tysons Corner.
“TechSet is making a difference for the student participants and its corporate partners as we work together to deepen our region’s technology talent pool and add to its diversity,” said Jonathan Aberman, Dean of Marymount University’s College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology (BILT). “Of all the projects I have been involved with to help out the region, TechSet may be the most promising and important.”
“Our region’s businesses continually demonstrate their innovation, brilliance and resourcefulness in pushing forward,” said Northern Virginia Chamber President and CEO, Julie Coons. “We’ve all experienced how invaluable an innovative mindset can be in a vibrant, growing economy. The Northern Virginia Chamber and Connectpreneur were excited to recognize our finalists’ achievements in a fun-filled, camaraderie-focused event.”
“It’s one thing to be successful in business, but another altogether to innovate and bring fresh ideas and solutions to the community,” added Tien Wong, Innovation Awards host and founder of Connectpreneur. “Through their work, we’ve become a stronger Mid-Atlantic and a more enticing region for business overall.”
TechSet, the brainchild of Aberman, is a two-month program that emphasizes work readiness, job tools and career preparation through mentorship and instruction from a teaching team with real-world experience and expertise. It’s designed to be a useful add-in for students who already benefit from career preparation at their current university, or to help those who have not previously had access to career development mentorship and education.
The first TechSet cohort, consisting of a diverse group of 50 students, just completed the program at the end of the spring semester. They participated in an online job fair with corporate partners, and many have already received job offers. Applicants for TechSet have come from Marymount, George Mason University, University of Mary Washington, Shenandoah University, Howard University, the University of Maryland and more. Corporate partners include Aldrich Capital Partners, Brazen, Calibre, Decisions, Deepwatch, Guidepoint Security, IntelliDyne, Paymerang, Qualtrics, Rhythm Management Group, Ruxton Ventures and Serco.
“TechSet exists because many employers have stated widely that technology and business skills are necessary, but not sufficient, for a successful entry into the technology workforce,” Aberman explained. “Employers are looking for interpersonal skills and professional competencies in their evaluation of candidates’ career readiness. A key goal of the TechSet program is for participants to gain these skills during their studies so that they can hit the ground running when they join the workforce.”
With an investment of $425,000 from the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board, Marymount aims to support 200 economically disadvantaged students, create 100 internship opportunities and place 100 graduates into full-time jobs in order to diversify the tech workforce.
For more information on the TechSet program and how to apply, click here.