elementary school students in a classroom
Distance Learning Lab at John B. Cary Elementary School in Richmond. (Rebecca Jones, VCU College of Engineering)

VCU Engineering receives $1M grant from Bank of America

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Bank of America is making a $1 million anchor grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering to support ongoing programs that expand access for students to pursue a technology education. These programs engage thousands of K-12 students in engineering outreach experiences and increase teacher participation in professional development sessions.

This grant — which supports institutions and initiatives that “anchor” the local community and enable economic mobility, workforce development and education, and community revitalization — is the latest milestone in a partnership to increase access to and participation in high-value engineering, data science and computer science education at VCU and partnering institutions.

“VCU has created a highly effective program to develop and prepare students for jobs of the future,” said Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America. “Digital technologies have never been more in demand. Our digital economy necessitates an expansion in career opportunities in computer science and data analytics so that everyone can participate.” 

The VCU College of Engineering is committed to advancing technology education opportunities for nontraditional students, including first-generation college students and those from communities of color. Anchor grant funds will help scale up initiatives to increase the talent pool of data scientists, engineers, software developers and information security specialists. 

“We hope this grant from Bank of America is another call to action across the RVA region, where public-private partnerships provide access to the opportunities that a college education can provide,” said Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of the College of Engineering. “Our approach is to work with public school systems, other nonprofits, community colleges, the VCU School of Education and local businesses to expand existing educational pathways throughout the K-12 and higher-ed continuum.”