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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Set for Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center on Saturday in Newport News

By Joe Garvey

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center (BCIOC), a collaboration between Old Dominion University, Newport News Shipbuilding, the City of Newport News, the Newport News Economic Development Authority and other community partners, will be held at noon Aug. 24.

The BCIOC, located within the Brooks Crossing Office Building at 550 30th Street in the Southwest Community of Newport News, will make workforce development and STEM education services readily accessible to citizens, students and businesses.

Scheduled speakers at the ribbon cutting include ODU President John R. Broderick, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Gov. Ralph Northam, Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price and Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin. A reception, activities, demonstrations and tours will immediately follow ceremony.

Old Dominion University's Mia D. Joe, director of the Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab, called the facility "a place where the community, academia and industry can learn from each other and collaborate to find real-world solutions for real-world problems. As a community-based lab, individuals will be able to design or build their products and attend entrepreneurial programs to learn how to market them."

The BCIOC is comprised of two elements:

The STEM Digital Innovation and Fabrication Lab. This lab is the first of its kind in Virginia, and, through hands-on and project-based learning, will teach skills and technology utilization and serve as a resource for students, parents and citizens interested in learning about digital technologies used in design and fabrication. This is a partnership between Newport News Shipbuilding, ODU, the City of Newport News and its Economic Development Authority.

The Brooks Crossing Opportunity Center (BCOC). This will serve as centralized hub for customized services related to career awareness, skill development, wealth building, training and employment, and support services. In addition to serving as a location for case management support and hosting interviews and job fairs, BCOC will be a location where citizens can test for certificate programs and participate in career readiness seminars, workshops and training programs. This endeavor is a partnership between Greater Peninsula Workforce Board, Hampton Roads Community Action Program, Peninsula Regional Education Programs, ODU, the City of Newport News and its Economic Development Authority, as well as a number of other workforce and industry partners and training providers.

The Economic Development Authority, the City of Newport News and other partners are investing significantly within the neighborhood to create support resources for students and residents. Investment in the BCIOC, as well as broader community investments, will help to create an ecosystem in which individuals and businesses can receive the support necessary to build a foundation for long-term success.

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