Virginia College Seeks Software Engineering Program
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has approved a software engineering major at the institution, hoping to diversify southwest Virginia’s coal mining-dependent economy. The college is now scrambling to acquire funding for the new program, which is expected to supply workers for two large information technology companies that are planning to relocate to the region.
In October, technology integration firm CGI-AMS announced plans to build a software development center in Russell County, Va., which could provide 300 information technology jobs.
“This is an unprecedented announcement for the coalfield region,” says Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. “CGI-AMS is offering the kind of jobs that will truly transform the region’s economy. The company will bring 300 jobs that provide above-average wages and great benefits to qualified employees who are ready to work.”
In November, technology and aerospace giant Northrop Grumman announced plans to build a backup data center in the region, a move that will bring in an additional 400 jobs.
School administrators and local politicians are now working with Warner’s office to secure more than $800,000 from the state’s budget for the new software engineering degree program. The groups have been working on the degree program since the late 1990s, while negotiating with the companies about moving their operations to southwest Virginia.
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