GO TEC will expand its career pathway program for students to reach 50 middle schools

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 4:35 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will be expanding its GO TEC program after receiving a grant.

GO TEC is a talent pathway program for students in 5th through 12th grade that started in Danville and Pittsylvania County schools in 2018. GO TEC is now in 25 middle schools and 19 school divisions in Virginia.

“They get engaged with the industry-like equipment that is involved with those pathways,” said Jacob Taylor, GO TEC Technical and Training manager. “We get them excited at the sixth grade level, we take a deeper dive with content and skills in seventh grade, and in eighth grade they incorporate multiple pathways and solving problems and completing projects.

Those pathways include welding, robotics, engineering, and more.

“They’re chosen by students,” said Janelle Ball Brooks, GO TEC Program Manager. “So, the quicker we can have them experience those classes and engaging projects, the more likely they are to remember them, and then pursue them when the opportunity presents itself.”

GO TEC recently received a $3.4 million GO Virginia grant that will allow the program to expand to several areas across the state like Buchanan County, Wythe County, and Norfolk.

“We have found this has been a really important part of that process of trying to recruit new industry or expand existing industry. We hope that as we expand this across the state and embed this in the different regions, they’ll be able to highlight their regional talent to be able to do the same things,” added Taylor.

The grant will also help provide additional training coordinators throughout the different school divisions.

“As the program has expanded across the state, we realize it’s very important that we support the teachers in terms of their training in terms of the equipment support, and their ability to get help when they need it,” explained Taylor.

GO TEC will be available in 50 middle schools in Virginia by 2025.