The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL16
Kindergarten and first-grade students get a hands-on opportunity to learn about equipment used to build high-speed broadband.
There are also opportunities for entrepreneurs at Virginia
Western Community College to participate in the Regional
Acceleration and Mentoring Program (RAMP), a technology business accelerator program. Their goal to expand and
create jobs in our market will include mentor relationships,
granting entrepreneurs access to funding to propel them
forward in launching technology-based start-ups. In this
intensive "boot camp for founders," students will focus on
building, testing and eventually launching their products.
Virginia Western also received recognition for its use of
technology, placing second in the mid-sized colleges category in the 2015-16 Digital Community Colleges Survey.
Selected for Top 3 honors in the survey for each of the past
six years, VWCC has made great strides in using a range of
technologies to improve services for students, faculty, staff
and the community at large.
Secondary Education Provides Opportunity
Students in middle, elementary and high schools are also
provided great opportunities to build on their skills, especially those interested in science, math and engineering.
Working with outside programs gives them hands-on experience as well as a chance to pair with local experts who
can mentor them.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia recently
started a mentoring program with the Virginia Tech Corpo16 | 2017 VALLEY LIFE MAGAZINE
rate Research Center (VTCRC) focusing on STEM (Science
Technology Engineering Mathematics) education. The goal is
to connect children in Montgomery County with mentors in
the STEM industry at VTCRC; during the school year, Bigs and
Littles create and foster their relationship, while the program
tracks the outcomes and impact made. Ideally, this encourages students to have access to a professional environment,
as well as expose them to a variety of industries, in addition
to their Bigs' support and mentorship.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about growth in
the Roanoke Valley includes a new fiber optic internet network, jointly started and managed by the cities of Salem
and Roanoke and counties of Roanoke and Botetourt, in
response to citizen-driven demand. Available across the region through the new Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority (RVBA), the goal of the network is to support continued
regional economic development, as well as to provide the
tools needed for our workforce to remain competitive on a
Local students (approximately 80 kindergarten and first
grade students from Fishburn Park Elementary and young
adults from William Fleming High School's Robotics Club)
were the first to experience the high-speed broadband. With
the equipment used to build the RVBA, they learned the basics of how the fiber optic light works, as well as the science,
math and engineering involved to produce this important