Mountain Gateway Gets Grant for Lab Schools
Teenagers living within Mountain Gateway Community College’s service area may one day graduate high school not only with an associate degree but work certificates in information technology fields that command starting salaries of $60,000 or more.
That’s the vision of a proposed lab school being designed by the Clifton Forge college, in partnership with the school divisions of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Buena Vista and Rockbridge, and — hopefully one day — Amazon.
Mountain Gateway recently received a $116,000 state planning grant to launch a lab school offering work certificates in Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and IT Technical Support. It’s one of three planning grants the state has awarded for lab schools. The other two are at the University of Mary Washington and a collaboration between George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College. A group headed by Emory & Henry College is planning a lab school in Southwest Virginia that will focus on health care but that application has not been formally filed yet.
“There are lots of great jobs in those areas, and these are all jobs that people can do remotely too,” said Ben Worth, Mountain Gateway vice president of academic affairs. “We’re envisioning a future where students can do this work, and then even while they’re still in high school put some of these skills to use supporting either their high schools or local businesses. We’re really interested in creating internship opportunities.”
According to CompTIA IT Salary Calculator, the overall median salary for an IT Support Specialist is $49,770; for a Cybersecurity Specialist/Engineer, it’s $102,600.
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