Piedmont Virginia Community College has been selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to participate in the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education (ATE) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The MentorLinks initiative pairs experienced community college mentors with expertise in planning and implementing advanced technology programs with colleges seeking support to build, strengthen and sustain new or existing science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) technician education programs.

PVCC was one of only 11 community colleges in the nation and the only community college in Virginia to receive an AACC MentorLinks grant this year. The purpose of PVCC’s project is to support the development and expansion of the college’s cybersecurity certificate program through technical support and mentoring. The $20,000 grant award will be used for faculty release time, professional development and travel.

“The MentorLinks program is an excellent opportunity for PVCC,” said Adam Hastings, dean of PVCC’s Business, Mathematics and Technologies Division. “Our faculty and administration will have the opportunity to develop both current and new programs and partnerships through the support of a skilled mentor. Doing this work in partnership with the NSF-ATE program may lead to expanded NSF-ATE programming similar to PVCC’s current Central Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Initiative.”

The two-year grant begins in October 2017 and will pair PVCC faculty and administration with an experienced college mentor that has extensive experience in implementing cybersecurity programs. PVCC’s college mentor will be Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio.

The 2017-2019 MentorLinks cohort consists of 11 community colleges and 11 individual mentors, which were selected through a competitive peer review process and represent innovative projects in advanced manufacturing, engineering technology, environmental technology, information technologies, agricultural technology and cybersecurity. Mentors will work closely with their college teams on activities such as curriculum development or redesign, industry engagement, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and internships/experiential learning experiences development for both faculty and students. In addition to PVCC, Cascadia College (Wash.); Daytona State College (Fla.); Johnson County Community College (Kan.); McHenry County College (Ill.); Ozarks Technical Community College (Mo.); Riverland Community College (Minn.); Rockingham Community College (N.C.); Seminole State College (Okla.); Southeastern Community College (N.C.); and St. Petersburg College (Fla.) were selected to participate.

To learn more about MentorLinks, visit www.aacc.nche.edu/mentorlinks. To learn more about PVCC’s cybersecurity programs, visit www.pvcc.edu/cyber.