VDOE Awards Lab School Grant to PVCC

'VDOE Awards Lab School Planning Grants to Central & Piedmont Va. Community Colleges'

RICHMOND — Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Schultz announced today that the Virginia Department of Education has awarded college laboratory school planning grants to Piedmont Virginia Community College and Central Virginia Community College.

“Both of these planned college lab schools will provide students with well-defined pathways to academic success in high school, industry certifications and two-year degrees, and high-wage opportunities and careers with leading employers,” Schultz said. “I congratulate both Piedmont and Central Virginia — and all of the partnering school divisions — for the thoughtfulness of their grant applications.”

Piedmont received a $146,695 grant for planning its proposed “Pathways to Tech Lab School” in partnership with Albemarle County, Charlottesville, Louisa County, Fluvanna County, Greene County, Nelson County and Buckingham County public schools. The school is projected to enroll up to 80 students in grades 11-12 with the goal of preparing them for high-demand, high-wage careers in advanced manufacturing and information technology. According to Piedmont’s grant application, students will earn multiple industry credentials in addition to a high school diploma and associate degrees in applied science. The Pathways to Tech Lab School is projected to open in August 2024 on PVCC’s main campus in Charlottesville.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with our local school partners to strengthen talent pipelines to help meet current and emerging workforce needs,” PVCC President Jean Runyon said. “The Pathways to Tech planning grant will focus on innovative approaches to creating high-demand, high-wage pathways in advanced manufacturing and information technology. I’m excited about what we’ll accomplish together for the communities we serve.”

Central Virginia Community College was awarded a $200,000 grant for planning its proposed “Central Virginia Regional Experiential Academy of Learning.” CVCC is planning the academy in partnership with Amherst County, Appomattox County, Bedford County, and Campbell County and Lynchburg public schools. According to the application, the lab school will open on CVCC’s Lynchburg campus in fall 2024 and serve up to 200 students in grades 11-12. Students would begin preparing for the academy in grades 6-10, with the lab school then providing a seamless pathway combining career and technical education and academics from high school to community college and the workforce.

“The hallmark of our lab school will be its emphasis on experiential learning: learning by doing,” CVCC President John Capps said. “It will provide dual-enrolled students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on problem-solving and skills development in high-demand CTE curricula. As a day-long program, the lab school will bring an experiential approach to other courses required for high school graduation so that traditional subjects like English and government will reinforce students’ technical classes.”

To date, VDOE has awarded 15 college laboratory planning grants totaling more than $2.8 million. The 2022 General Assembly appropriated $100 million to the commonwealth’s College Partnership Laboratory School Fund, with up to $5 million designated for planning grants to colleges and universities to develop plans for new lab schools. More information about college lab schools is available on the VDOE website.

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