The University of the Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Next Generation Network and the V.I. Department of Education announced a partnership Thursday to establish a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy that planners say will guarantee the students a job in a high tech field.
The academy, which will be designed to encourage technology and economic access, is a territorywide initiative for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students will attend STEAM-focused classes on both UVI campuses and connect in virtual classrooms with counterparts throughout the territory.
In this planned dual-enrollment initiative, high school students will take part in their STEAM Academy curriculum and be enrolled in a two-year information technology certification track, where they will receive training in industry certifications or four-year STEAM-related degree programs.
Students in the program will graduate from high school with either information technology industry certifications or university credits toward a bachelor’s degree, UVI announced in Thursday’s news release.
Upon high school graduation, for those students in the certification track, or upon graduation from UVI, STEAM Academy students will receive guaranteed job placement in the local technology economy in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the release said.
The release did not say how many students will be enrolled in the program or when it will start. It also did not say how the collaborators can promise the students jobs.
“UVI is thrilled about this partnership with viNGN and the Department of Education,” said UVI President David Hall. “The STEAM academy at UVI will empower us to inspire and prepare the next generation of technology leaders in the Virgin Islands.”
“Through this partnership we can create a pipeline of talent that will fulfill the future needs for businesses who presently exist and those who will be attracted to the territory in the future,” Hall said.
“Students regardless of socioeconomic background will have access to STEAM education on all three islands,” said Tonjia Coverdale, president and chief executive officer of viNGN. “This will be a school without walls, a territorial school.”
Coverdale is also an assistant professor of computer information systems at UVI, currently serving in a part-time capacity.