CTE Governor's STEM Academies

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GOV-STEM-ACADGovernor's STEM Academies are programs designed to expand options for the general student population to acquire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) literacy and other critical skills, knowledge and credentials that will prepare them for high-demand, high-wage, and high-skill careers in Virginia. Each academy is a partnership among school divisions, postsecondary institutions and business and industry.

STEM literacy is an interdisciplinary area of study that bridges the four areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM literacy does not simply mean achieving literacy in the individual strands. STEM classrooms shift students toward investigating and questioning the interrelated facets of the world.

Governor's STEM Academies can be viewed as the practical complement to academic year Governor's Schools. They may be new centers or existing ones where the standards are raised and efforts are refocused to align with Virginia's STEM goals. Academies are defined by program content, not location or delivery system. Courses may be held at a high school, technical center or community college campus or may be delivered online, or through other innovative methods. However, all programs must include opportunities for internships, job shadowing, mentorships, projects, service learning or a combination.

Virginia's 21 Governor's STEM Academies


Student Requirements

Graduates of the Governor's STEM Academies complete the program by meeting one or more of the following benchmarks:

  • Earning an industry certification or state occupational license;
  • Demonstrating competency on an assessment recognized by postsecondary institutions such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), or college placement tests;
  • Earning at least nine (9) transferable college credits as defined by the Early College Scholars program including dual enrollment and Advanced Placement; and/or
  • Earning an associate degree.

Funding to support the initial planning and implementation of Governor's STEM Academies in Virginia is through the commonwealth's 2007 STEM grant from the National Governors Association.

Academy Goals

To maximize opportunities in preparing students for targeted careers, by breaking down barriers between traditional core academics and career and technical education (CTE); between high school and postsecondary education and training; and between education and the workplace;

To raise student aspirations and attract more students to postsecondary education in preparation for technical careers; and

To provide well-trained workers to support the recruitment of new businesses and industries to the commonwealth and to meet the workforce needs of existing business and industry.

How to Establish a Governor's STEM Academy

Developing and implementing a Governor's STEM Academy involves extensive planning and discussions among the participating partners. Each proposed Academy must be reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and approved by the Virginia Board of Education. Partners should take this process into consideration when preparing a planning and implementation timeline. The links that follow will provide the outline for the process as well as technical assistance.

  • Intent to Submit a Proposal (docx) Revised October 2023 – fax or email this form expressing your interest in establishing an academy.
  • Career Clusters - Virginia has adopted the nationally accepted structure of career clusters, pathways and occupations. 
  • Virginia's Workplace Readiness Skills, identified by employers across the Commonwealth, are those competencies considered essential for success in the world of work.

Proposal submissions

Proposals for Governor's STEM Academies to be approved by the Virginia Board of Education should be submitted at least eight months prior to the anticipated opening of an Academy.