The City of Newport News hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony today for the new Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center (BCIOC) in the Southeast Community.
Governor Ralph Northam, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Bobby Scott, Mayor McKinley Price, officials from the City, Newport News Shipbuilding and Old Dominion University, as well as community leaders celebrated the opening of the community center that focuses on workforce development and STEM-education outreach in collaboration with the city and its partners.
“The workforce development initiatives and innovation taking place at the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center are critical in developing a 21st century talent pool,” said Price. “The investment here, as well as broader investments within the community, will help to create an ecosystem in which individuals and businesses can receive the support necessary to build a foundation for long-term success.”
Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center, which occupies the first floor of the newly constructed 105,000-square-foot Brooks Crossing office building, will make workforce development and STEM education services readily accessible to citizens, students and businesses. The facility includes a collaborative space for innovation and new ventures, such as entrepreneurial initiatives.
This resource features two elements key to the city’s ongoing community engagement efforts: The Brooks Crossing Opportunity Center (BCOC) and the STEM Digital Innovation and Fabrication Lab.
BCOC is a centralized hub for 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 is a location where citizens can test for certificate programs and participate in career readiness seminars, workshops and training programs.
The STEM Digital Innovation and Fabrication Lab, a partnership between the city, Newport News Shipbuilding, Old Dominion University and the Newport News Economic Development Authority, is the first of its kind in Virginia. Through hands-on and project-based learning, the innovation center will serve as a resource for students, parents and citizens interested in learning about digital technologies used in design and fabrication.
“Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab establishes a STEM hub for the Peninsula to build synergy with regional initiatives to prepare the next-generation workforce,” said John R. Broderick, president of Old Dominion University. “Old Dominion and Brooks Crossing will also take the lead in establishing the Southeastern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Association. The Peninsula is home to several of these manufacturers, and Brooks Crossing represents an opportunity to establish more pipelines for workforce readiness.”
Newport News Shipbuilding is the anchor tenant of the Brooks Crossing office building, which was completed in 2019. Approximately 600 employees in the information technology, engineering and design and integrated planning and production control departments now occupy the top three floors of the building.
“Our employees are working to re-imagine our design and manufacturing processes and lead the way into the digital age of shipbuilding, but we cannot allow this transformation to be limited to the top three floors. Equally as exciting is the first floor, which will be dedicated to introducing southeast residents of all ages to STEM-related jobs,” said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. “Brooks Crossing brings important learning opportunities to people who want to grow and it is this kind of community outreach that defines who we are as a company. It gives us the opportunity to grow a new generation of computer engineers, data scientists, mathematicians and shipbuilding leaders from right here in our own backyard.”