GO TEC is a collaborative project that aims to develop the regional workforce to meet changing industry demands. The program begins to engage with the student at the middle school level and continues through high school dual enrollment and post-secondary programs. The focus of the project is to further develop the sectors of IT, advanced manufacturing, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by creating a talent pipeline that begins in K-12.
GO TEC uses a hub-and-spoke model to progressively generate the desired robust talent pipeline across Southern and Southwest Virginia. Middle schoolers are introduced early to the occupations and base skill training in Career Connections Labs, an example of a spoke. They are then connected in high school to expanded career and technical courses, industry certification programs and dual-enrollment training opportunities with higher education partners. Finally, they may progress to advanced level training at a hub educational provider.
To achieve this, five targeted, in-demand career pathways have been identified. Program goals and curriculum are led by GO TEC staff with the support and guidance of a 21-member GO TEC Advisory Board comprised of businesses, K-12 and higher education—all with equal representation.
The GO TEC Career Connections program introduces students to five focus areas: precision machining; welding; IT / cybersecurity; robotics, automation and mechatronics; and advanced materials. Healthcare, identified as a regional priority, has also been included as a unit within the program. Students complete a nine-unit curriculum that exposes them to various career pathways and career-specific vocabulary.
Each GO TEC Career Connections lab utilizes equipment comparable to that used in the various industry settings. The goal at the middle school level is to introduce students to the various career pathways and pique their interests in one or more of the pathways. To do this, students research the various careers within each of the pathways and learn about the equipment through hands-on activities.
Hampton Roads Pilot Schools: Ella Fitzgerald Middle School located in Newport News and C. Alton Lindsay Middle School located in Hampton.