Henrico County VA

Deep Run program trains future project management leaders

Deep Run High School recently completed a pilot course that is the first of its kind in the nation, based upon project management skills for the purpose of providing adequate training to its students so they can be empowered to enter the workforce with competence and a professional certification.

Future Leaders In Project Management is a non-profit organization that was founded by Jennifer Greene to incorporate project management in high schools so students are prepared to work as associate project managers after they graduate. The year-long course prepares students to take the Project Management Institute’s Certified Associate’s in Project Management (CAPM) test and receive Project Manager’s Institute industry certification, a world recognized certification. FLiPM is designed to bring skilled local workforce to businesses, grant graduating high school seniors job opportunities and stimulate the economy while lowering the unemployment rate.

Upon completing the last project management course in the 12th grade, students who earn their high school diplomas will be eligible to sit for the CAPM test, thus preparing the students to turn their passions in more than 100 different industries into marketable career options straight out of school.

“I believe in industry certification and PMI is the world standard for project management," said Lynne Norris, the school's project management teacher and chair of the Center for Information Technology. "I’m always looking for opportunities to give them (students) the edge and anytime you can put initials behind your name its awesome."

The program came to Deep Run when a CTE specialist for the county's school system approached Norris about the opportunity FLiPM could bring students. The program was born when the Henrico School Board gave its approval. The system not only opened up doors for the students but also for teachers – 10 of whom were given the opportunity to take a project management course to earn certification.

Project management is part of the required curriculum for sophomores at Deep Run in the speciality IT center, but FLiPM allows for students to take their studies a step further. The FLiPM capstone class at Deep Run is composed of 10 students and focuses on IT project management with a yearlong project that puts their skills to use. Through FLiPM, students were able to utilize the tools that project management has taught them in completing different projects areas that interested them.

“We were given the opportunity to work on the CAPM certification and it’s a lot like a real life job, doing a year long project isn't something that most high schooler’s get to do especially putting the skills to use and application,” said senior Stephen Scipione.

The vision is to incorporate FLiPM in to all CTE courses so that a broad spectrum of students are being exposed to technology, terminology, and tools that Project Management uses. Many of the skills introduced correlate to the work place and give students a leg-up when facing employers who are looking for well developed students that are entering the work force. The national certification makes the students more marketable employees with hope of gaining them entry into well paying jobs.

The job market is extremely competitive, but project manager positions are thriving, and there is a strong need for CAMPS (Certified Associate Project Managers), who have a starting salary between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. Offering graduates the certification makes them employable right away, and the skills learned translate into a multitude of professions and are applicable in every industry.

Those skills – project planning, scheduling, human resources, team management, customer and client relations, interpersonal skills, risk assessment and communication – give students a significant advantage that they can carry with them throughout their life, not just for the first few years after graduation, Norris said.

FLiPM also gives students who may not be pursuing college or have the opportunity, to enter a professional career with valid, marketable skills. FLiPM creates a bridge between career/technical education and the public school systems by opening the doors to students. The program works with a local professional chapter of Project Management and provides opportunities to use the newly-gained abilities to partner with state organizations, stimulating local economy.

“I became interested because I wanted an opportunity to use this class to elevate beyond high school and into the real world, while working with a client and mentor. I relish the opportunity to work with organizations outside of school,” said Ram Ramkumar.

After completing the capstone, students are awarded a grant to cover their application fee into the local chapter of PMI, as well as their PMI test, and are offered access to testing software and test preparation books. The local chapter allows for students to continue using PMI skills outside of high school and the chance to get involved with local businesses.

The FLiPM program is expected to expand, and Norris says this year was full of successes.

“My hope is that each year we will be able to continue this program through grants and be able to help facilitate other schools in Henrico. It makes me happy to be able to say we are really providing a valuable resource of well prepared workers as students graduate,” she said.

FLiPM and Henrico Education Foundation, along with the Central Virginia Chapter of PMI are rewarding a student with a $2,500 scholarship as well as title of "Student Project Manager of the Year" at a celebratory dinner held at the Federal Reserve Building.
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Community

A.C. Moore to host winter craft day for kids

Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.

CCC seeks donations for food pantry

Commonwealth Catholic Charities is in desperate need of food donations for its community food pantry that serves the region’s low-income families, according to officials with the Henrico-based nonprofit.

After moving into its new location this past summer, the agency has dedicated a larger space for the pantry but the shelves are practically empty.

“As we head into the holidays and the weather turns colder, the need for food becomes even more critical, but unfortunately our cupboards are nearly bare,” said Jay Brown, the agency’s director for the division of housing services. “Donations of food will allow us help provide.” > Read more.

Hands-on duties

More than 1,000 volunteers from throughout the region gathered last month as part of HandsOn Greater Richmond to complete more than 60 projects.

The event is a program of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence.

In Henrico, a group of Target employees (pictured) undertook a project at Fairfield Middle School to help re-plant the school's community garden and paint the outdoor shelter. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A ‘Life’ well lived

Animated ‘Book of Life’ overcomes average storyline with extraordinary presentation, details
“Beauty is only skin deep” applies all too well to The Book of Life. An animated feature from first-time director Jorge R. Gutierrez, The Book of Life spins a classic love triangle – two childhood friends, Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) both in love with Maria (Zoe Saldana).

Maria, in all honesty, is a little more interested in Manolo’s musical charms, but her father wants her to marry the boastful and militaristic Joaquin. And when two gods, La Muerte and Xibalba (Kate de Castillo and Ron Perlman, respectively), turn this little love triangle into a wager (as gods often do), Manolo’s quest for true love will take him through life, death, immortality and the underworlds of Mexican folklore.

Now, back to the “beauty” part – because as far as the visuals go, The Book of Life is the most extraordinary animated film to hit theaters this year. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


The holiday season is underway and Lakeside Avenue has everything you need during its 10th annual Holly Jolly Christmas event! Shoppers will enjoy extended hours at several dozen shops and free trolley rides. Also this weekend, the 23rd annual Great American Indian Exposition & Pow-Wow. There will be over 200 American Indian dancers, singers, drummers, artists and crafters. In the mood for music? Check out The Gibson Brothers at UR and Susan Greenbaum at the Shady Grove Coffeehouse. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Have last-minute holiday shopping needs? Check them off your list at the Gabriel Pearce Memorial Scholarship Holiday Craft and Home Show, Berea Baptist Church, 15421 Pouncey Tract Rd., Rockville, Va.… Full text

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