U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education Scott Stump were at Hampton University Friday to announce that the university was one of eight locations to receive grant funding to provide students the opportunity to develop new skills in high demand areas.
The recipients will leverage the expertise and facilities available on college campuses to spur entrepreneurship and foster business development and innovation, as the country starts to recover from COVID-19-related disruptions to education.
Hampton University received $17,735,349.43. Through Hampton University, the Virginia Board of Workforce Development will establish the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.
The center will provide opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs to help grow the recovering economy, such as new education and training opportunities.
Hampton joined California, Hawaii, New York, and other states that will use the funds to provide students the opportunity to develop new skills in high demand areas.
The center, although based in Hampton, will also serve those who have been unemployed, displaced, or have had their jobs have become obsolete due to COVID-19.
DeVos said the Reimagine Workforce Prep grant proposal will build small business incubators in Opportunity Zones. She said the project will help students jumpstart their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
“Out of this crisis we can seize new opportunities,” DeVos said. “Students need to be prepared for a different sort of economy and different opportunities going forward.”
The grant awards will support states’ efforts to assist in the development of new education and training opportunities; encourage the engagement of employers and industry sectors in providing high-quality education and training opportunities to improve workforce preparation, and enable innovators in local communities to benefit from access to faculty experts, state-of-the-art equipment, and shared facilities through the development or growth of small business incubators located at, or affiliated with, colleges and universities.