NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A new program at Old Dominion University aims to increase the number of engineering and engineering technology majors.

The Monarch Accelerator Program to Engineering (MAP-to-E) hopes to meet the growing workforce demand for engineers at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). Over the next 12 months, the company plans to hire more than 300 entry-level engineers.

NNS will be the lead industry sponsor of the program. Currently, more than 22% of the engineering workforce at NNS are graduates of ODU.

NNS vice president of engineering and design, Dave Bolcar calls the program transformative because it engages with students in their first year of college and guides them toward success in their studies and a rewarding careers at the shipyard.

“As we grow our already strong partnership with Old Dominion University, the MAP-to-E program is a logical extension of that work,” Bolcar said. “We’re designing and building the highest-quality aircraft carriers and submarines for the U.S. Navy at NNS, and we can’t wait to welcome more ODU students to that important national security mission as part of our shipbuilding team.”

The program is geared particularly to students from underrepresented and underserved communities in Hampton Roads.

Kenneth Fridley, dean of the Batten College of Engineering and Technology believes there is a talent pool of students with untapped ability, aptitude and desire to become engineers but have not had the opportunity to take the necessary math and science classes while in high school.

The ultimate goal of the MAP-To-E program is to:

  • Increase the number of full-time engineering and engineering-related students enrolled at ODU.
  • Increase the number of full-time students from underrepresented and underserved communities in Hampton Roads.
  • Increase the number of diverse and first-generation students pursuing careers in engineering and engineering-related systems.

This is NNS’s second major gift to ODU in recent years following the establishment of the NNS Scholars program that endows academic scholarships awarded annually to qualified junior, senior and graduate students studying engineering, business or computer science.