Camp Community College has been selected by the Virginia Department of Education to establish a Lab School with a projected Fall of 2025 opening. The Lab School will offer maritime trades training to area high school students.

Virginia Lab Schools are designed to stimulate the development of innovative education programs for Virginia students from preschool through Grade 12. In partnership with local employers and community organizations, their academic programs focus on expanding opportunities for students with exposure to workplaces designed to highlight the important role success in academics plays in life. Lab schools offer unique and focused opportunities to help students understand with greater clarity the career pathways for life after high school graduation. 

The new Lab School, the Isle Maritime Trades Academy (IMTA), is a joint effort between Camp, Isle of Wight County Schools (IWCS), and HII’s-Newport News Shipbuilding division.  

The Isle Maritime Trades Academy will educate and train a significant and sustainable number of students in maritime trades annually, through innovative, integrated, experience- and project-based career technical education, so that academy graduates are workplace ready upon high school graduation. Specifically, the IMTA will provide a high school- to college-to work pipeline in a partnership between IWCS, Camp, and initial primary corporate partner, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS).

The dual enrollment (DE) and simulated experiential learning components for students in 10th through 12th grades will be conducted at Camp’s Center at Smithfield, Smithfield High School, Windsor High School, and Camp’s Workforce Trades and Innovation Center (WTIC) which is currently in development in Suffolk. A groundbreaking ceremony for the WTIC project was held at the end of March and the facility is projected to open in the Spring of 2025. 

Students will enter the academy as juniors in one of two career pathways:  marine welding and marine electrical. 

In alignment with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s initiative, students who complete the curriculum will earn at least one career studies certificate, multiple industry-recognized credentials, and an Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies degree from Camp Community College. In addition, the Lab School curriculum will include job readiness skills (communication, teamwork, leadership) related to occupations such as welders, electricians, shipfitters, pipefitters, marine coating, and outside machinists.

Dr. Corey L. McCray, President of Camp Community College, said the IMTA will allow graduates to experience something more than just securing a job.

“The Isle Maritime Trades Academy is not just an avenue to a career pathway for Lab School students from Isle of Wight and the surrounding school districts, it will also allow them to be a part of something bigger than themselves, National Security,” said Dr. Corey L. McCray, President of Camp Community College. “Lab School students will ultimately have the opportunity to help build Navy ships that will ensure the nation’s defense and security. In addition, the IMTA will help our partners at Newport News Shipbuilding fill the projected 19,000 craft employees they anticipate hiring over the next decade.”

“We are excited to partner with Camp and Isle of Wight County Schools on the Isle Maritime Trades Academy,” said Xavier Beale, vice president of human resources at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding. “Partnerships between industry and education are key to developing a skilled workforce to ensure our Navy continues to have the most capable ships in the word. At NNS, we build great ships and great careers.”

“We are tremendously excited about the opportunity that the IMTA offers our students and our community. We are looking forward to this collaboration with our incredible partners—Camp Community College and HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding. Although this opportunity will offer life changing benefits to our students, our community will be the ultimate beneficiary,” said Theo Cramer, superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools.