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Northam Announces Recipient Universities of Tech Talent Pipeline Funds

Gov. Ralph Northam announces university recipients of Tech Talent Investment Program at VSU.
Gov. Ralph Northam announces university recipients of Tech Talent Investment Program at VSU. (Photo: Alan Rodriguez Espinoza)

VPM intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported this story.

Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday morning that 11 universities will receive $1 billion of state funds for their technical education and computer science departments over the next twenty years.

Through the Tech Talent Investment Program, the governor hopes to raise Virginia’s number of college graduates in computer science and technology-related fields by 31 thousand over the next two decades.

The creation of the program comes after the state of Virginia made an agreement with Amazon that resulted in the tech company picking Crystal City in Arlington as the site for a new headquarters building

“We already have more tech jobs than we can fill,” Northam said as he announced the program recipients at Virginia State University. “When Amazon decided to bring 25,000 new jobs here to Virginia, it only made that need more urgent.”

Starting in the Fall of 2020, the following universities will benefit from the Tech Talent Investment Program: Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, James Madison University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech and the College of William & Mary.

VSU President Makola Abdullah says the majority of the funds VSU receives from this program will be allocated towards providing scholarships for students and tech and computer science fields.

A well-educated workforce was part of the incentives package that Virginia offered Amazon for the company to base its new headquarters in the state. The incentives also included improved transportation infrastructure and up to $750 million in subsidies. Amazon agreed to pay workers at the Virginia headquarters an average of $150,000 a year.

The Tech Talent Investment Program will kick off in the Fall of 2020 and will grant universities a total of $16.6 million during its first fiscal year. Construction of the Amazon headquarters in Arlington are expected to break ground in 2020.