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Navy teams up with community colleges

The U.S. Navy has selected Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) to be a founding partner in its newly created U.S. Naval Community College (USNCC) program.

The VCCS is among five educational institutions selected for the collaboration, which begins the first phase of its pilot program in January 2021. The announcement comes as the first class of nearly 600 students is notified of their selection to participate in the pilot program, and the schools participating in the USNCC initiative are notified of their selection for the program.

As many as 100 of those inaugural students will take courses at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), pursuing the college’s nationally recognized Cybersecurity AAS program. Additional VCCS institutions and programs are expected to be engaged at the collaboration progresses.

The concept of the US Naval Community College, or USNCC, came out of a study seeking opportunities to better prepare enlisted service members and to support them throughout their careers. Naval leadership directed the USNCC to begin pilot programs to identify the best way to help enlisted naval service members access naval-relevant education opportunities that will make them better warfighters, improve operational readiness, and support lifelong learning. 

“We’re excited about this new and innovative partnership to serve our nation’s sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel,” Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, said. “Virginia’s Community Colleges have been serving military-related students and their families since we first opened our doors more than 50 years ago. We’re looking forward to the chance to help these men and women succeed, and we’re honored to have this opportunity.”

The selected schools were notified, after being narrowed down following a rigorous selection process over the past few months. 

“NOVA has a history of innovative partnerships including the highly successful collaboration begun last year with Amazon Web Services and the U.S. Marine Corps. Together, we created a first-of-its-kind program focused on data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA. “We are honored to build on this experience and now partner with the U.S. Navy in offering our college’s outstanding academic and workforce programming to members of the maritime service community.”

Other participating national institutions include Alexandria Technical and Community College (Minn.); The State University of New York system; the University of Maryland Global Campus; and the University of Arizona. All partnered to offer world class education to Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel through the pilot program, which will take place between January and June 2021.  

“Now that we’ve identified our collaborating schools, we can move forward with our program to ensure we offer the best education to our service members and benefit all those involved,” Cosentino said. “The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC.  Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.”