Partnership for the Future
When Piedmont Housing Alliance began to plan for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) Academy for Friendship Court Apartments in 2013, little did we know that we would soon be entering into one of our most satisfying partnerships in the community. That is our partnership with Piedmont Virginia Community College, “PVCC”, and its Workforce Services Department.
With generous funding from SunTrust, Bama Works, Verizon and the J & E Berkley Fund, we began to look for just the right curriculum to address the main issue at Friendship Court–the kids there didn’t have the same access to computers like many of their peers in school. As President Obama recently noted, computers are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity for those who are entering our modern workforce. We wanted to make sure that the kids at Friendship Court could garner the skills to enable them to compete in the 21st Century.
PVCC’s Workforce Services, and its coordinator, Miriam Rushfin, have helped us by providing an instructor for classes at the Friendship Court computer lab, and by offering spaces in PVCC’s “Kid’s College” summer program. This summer, the kids from Friendship Court are taking courses in programming, game design, jewelry design and others, and, maybe more important, are learning that college is a place where they belong.