Alexandria Seeks to Pilot PluggedIn Virginia
ACPS School Board seeks $500,000 to host a pilot program focused on adult learning and job training.
Alexandria’s School Board is asking City Council to fund a new program that it says would better prepare adults for secondary education and the workforce.
The board on Wednesday evening said it would need $500,000 to start the PluggedIn VA Program, which was developed through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Adult Education and Literacy and other Virginia institutions as well as Northrop Grumman and CGI.
The program currently is in practice in Russell County, Va., and was created in “response to the current literacy crisis, as well as the increased need for the commonwealth to prepare adults for jobs in a technology-driven economy,” according to the board’s proposal.
ACPS wants to kick off the program in the 2012-13 school year with 64 students expected to begin in spring 2013. It has been lobbying the state Education Department to select it as another test site because of the more than 100 tech firms located in the region, among other reasons. Virginia’s Prince William County also is competing to host a PluggedIn pilot program, according to speakers at the work session held at George Washington Middle School.
Council members appeared generally supportive of the proposal, noting that it would bring more economic development to the city and enhance the lives of those seeking to broaden their education and skill sets.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said more discussion is needed as to what will happen should the state give Alexandria money for the program or if some of the funding is expected to come from other sources.
ACPS Chief Academic Officer GwenCarol Holmes said ACPS officials have had some discussions with Northern Virginia Community College to offer some sort of dual credit through the program.
Councilman Rob Krupicka said a budget memo is in order to look at a more sharply analyzed budget for it and to see how it dovetails with the city’s current JobLink program so that there are not redundancies.
“This is an economic development program,” he said. “It’s a way of reducing the number of people who are unemployed and getting them to the workforce. It has clear value to the community and economy.”
The $500,000 would pay for staff, laptop computers and related equiopment and testing materials with the largest portion - $100,000 - going to the program coordinator.