Workforce Development: Creating a Vibrant Innovation Ecosystem

virginia western biotech

A fully mature ecosystem takes time to develop, but that doesn’t stop RBTC from planting seeds of innovation today that will bear fruit in the future. In fact, that’s what RBTC is all about—we’re committed to the growth of the Roanoke-Blacksburg technology community as it matures into a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem.  

One of the ways RBTC supports this goal is through robust workforce development initiatives. The technology sector is booming, and there are jobs today that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. The rapid growth makes it critical to train current and future tech workers to fill exciting jobs in the region. Supported by legislation and funding aimed at keeping talent in the state, RBTC partners with local and state collaborators to develop amazing local STEM opportunities for businesses, students, new grads, and professionals. So, what are the ways RBTC is helping train a new technology workforce? We’re so glad you asked! Keep reading—you might even find an opportunity that’s right for you.

Virginia Western Community College STEM K-12 Pipeline

Virginia Western Community College is leading the charge to prepare local students for careers in STEM.  The community college recently announced the launch of a new degree program to address the rapid growth of biotechnology jobs in the region. Beginning in the fall of 2023, students can earn a two-year degree in biotechnology. Following the completion of their degree, students can transfer to a four-year degree program or use their job-ready skills for an entry-level laboratory position (many of which pay $24 an hour).
 
Virginia Western isn’t just focused on nurturing post-high school students. This summer, VWCC launched STAT 22, a professional development event for local K12 teachers. STAT 22 helps teachers earn professional development credits by learning about biotechnology and incorporating that knowledge into their STEM curriculum. In turn, K12 students benefit from their knowledge, learning more about biotechnology and potential career opportunities in the field.

Virginia Technology Alliance Creates Big Opportunities

In the U.S., more than 700,000 tech roles remain unfilled due to the enormous gap in the tech talent pipeline.[1] RBTC is working with partners across the state to close the gap—filling roles and creating exciting opportunities for early-career professionals right in their hometown.

If you’re a recent college graduate with a STEM degree, RBTC can help you get connected to jobs across the state without ever leaving the city. We partner with northern VA-based organizations to fill entry-level technology positions remotely. New hires can work from our professional offices, have access to mentorship and community, and enjoy a lower cost of living while building experience in a learning-focused environment.

If you’re not quite ready for a full-time position, we can help you find internships while you finish your degree. We’ve partnered with Exelaration, a software development company with a nationally recognized internship program, to match undergraduate students with local employers in need of talented interns. The program is funded through the ELITE (Experiential Learning Through Tech Employment) grant and helps undergraduates gain real-world experience by working on mission-critical projects for local companies.

Emerging Cluster of Biotech Companies Builds Momentum

The Roanoke-Blacksburg region is quickly becoming the state hub for biotechnology expertise. Companies here find a progress-friendly environment with plenty of talent to grow their missions of delivering practical solutions to pressing problems. A good example of the types of companies that thrive here is Intuitive Surgical — a company focused on advancing minimally invasive care through advanced robotic systems. Headquartered in Blacksburg, Intuitive Surgical continues to innovate and evolve as the horizons of biotechnology expand. Globally connected and locally resourced, Intuitive Surgical works every day to solve hard problems in healthcare.

Companies like Intuitive Surgical continue to develop or locate here thanks to our vibrant, well-resourced community. Our eyes are on the future and we’re doing all we can to ensure that as the biotechnology sector develops, the talent will too.

Learn More

Innovation takes a village. Whether you’re exploring a career in biotechnology, or a company looking to find stellar talent, RBTC has a place for you. Browse our event calendar or check out our memberships to find your tribe with RBTC.

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