RBTC Rolls Out New Young Professional Development Program

2 men standing and talking

Cohort-based program aims to empower early-career STEM workers

If you’re a STEM employer looking to nurture your young professionals, then you’re not going to want to miss this new opportunity from the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and the City of Roanoke.

ChangeMakerZ is an incentivized professional development program for early-career biotechnology and technology professionals and is set to begin June 2024. The program, powered by the City of Roanoke and run by RBTC, is packed with exciting opportunities to learn new skills and grow a supportive network of industry leaders and peers. Participants who successfully complete the program receive a $5,000 incentive. 

“You really have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the thriving biotechnology and technology industry here,” says Director of Economic Development Marc Nelson. “ChangeMakerZ offers ready-made community and support at a critical time for young professionals just starting out.”

The program takes place over 12-months and participants will delve into professional topics tailored to their work as well as gain in-demand knowledge in AI that will give them an edge. The cohort is capped at 20 people to facilitate close and valuable connections through engaging programing and complimentary registration to a national AI conference and a young professional conference. Remote workers will even have access to a collaborative coworking space to strengthen connections while they get down to business.

“The Roanoke-Blacksburg region is the perfect place to start and nurture a STEM career. It’s size and location—near 25 higher education institutions—creates access to incredible opportunities you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else,” says RBTC Technology Talent Strategist Jason Clayton.

Biotechnology or technology companies with headquarters or operations in Virginia are encouraged to send STEM professionals who have completed their associate’s, bachelor’s master’s or doctoral degree within the last 5 years or will complete their degree by June 1. Program fees per young professional are $1,250 for RBTC member companies while nonmember fees are $1,750. 

RBTC is extending a special, buy-one-get-one offer to companies who send young professionals to the inaugural cohort. For the price of one admission, companies can send an employee to the 2025 cohort for FREE. Fees are payable by the employer on the young professional’s behalf. Preference will be given to candidates in technology or biotechnology who are living and working within the GO Virginia Region 2 area. 

ChangeMakerZ  will run from June 2024 to May 2025. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the deadline date of April 15, 2024. Interested candidates can apply now.

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