Area universities to receive funding to produce additional tech graduates

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced November 7 the creation of the Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP), a statewide workforce initiative that aims to create 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years, under agreements with 11 universities.

Two of those universities sit in our backyard: Radford University and Virginia Tech.

RU is expected to receive $17.3 million in funding over the next 20 years to produce nearly 400 additional graduates beyond current degree production, according to a release from RU.

The new program is a result of Amazon's second headquarters - HQ2 - constructed in northern Virginia. The company plans to hire approximately 25,000 employees for the new location over the next decade.

"This initiative is an investment in Virginians," said Governor Northam. “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.”

According to a release from the Governor's Office, the program is a performance-based initiative designed to create at least 25,000 new bachelors and masters degrees in computer science and related fields. The funding for the program was approved into Virginia's budget earlier this year.

The tech industry has boomed in recent years, and this program is meant to to help Virginia keep pace while providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to find high-paying jobs.

According to the Governor's Office, colleges and universities applied for state funding to expand their existing computer science programs. Further agreements will be established with other institutions, including community colleges.

Several administrators and faculty members have worked diligently throughout the past eight months to ensure RU was among the institutions from across the Commonwealth to be considered for the TTIP, according to the University.

RU says they will "implement several strategic initiatives, focused on community college partnerships, expanded degree pathways and improved retention efforts, to double its number of graduates, specifically those in the Artis College of Science and Technology’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Technology program."

The schools receiving funding - along with VT and RU - are:
-George Mason University
-The University of Virginia
-College of William & Mary
-Old Dominion University
-Virginia Commonwealth University
-James Madison University
-Christopher Newport University
-Virginia State University
-Norfolk State University

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