Radford hopes to build regional learning center

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RADFORD (WSLS 10) - As thousands of technology jobs sit open across Virginia, Radford is taking action to prepare students to fill those positions right out of high school.

School leaders are looking to do this through a $12 million regional center for teaching and learning, the Southwest Virginia Center of Innovative Teaching and Learning.

The goal is to open the center in an old building on Radford High School's campus.

The vision is to provide technology and manufacturing-based education, as well as help students with soft skills like proper job interview etiquette.

The center would be open to 11th and 12th graders across the region, both in-person and online. The hope is that it will help even the playing field for students in southwest Virginia, compared to what is offered in other parts of the state.

It started out with the small focus of cyber security, but as more universities, politicians and organizations began to hear about it, the scope and enthusiasm has grown.

"We've got to look at what's going on in the world, especially in our community, and respond to that need," said Ellen Denny of Radford City Public Schools.

The goal is to have the center up and running in the next three to five years. Leaders want to fund the project through grants rather than city money.