The Virginia High-Tech Partnership links Virginia's five historically Black Colleges and Universities with the fast growing businesses in the high-tech sector. The VHTP was created by entrepreneur Mark Warner in response to Virginia’s increasing need for skilled high-tech workers. Nearly 3,000 technology-based businesses are located in Virginia. The Commonwealth’s technology sector is growing at more than three times the rate of the overall economy and providing jobs that pay on average 70 percent more than non-technology jobs.

Unfortunately, Virginia’s skilled workforce shortage threatens the technology sector’s continued expansion. There are 25,000 unfilled technology-related jobs in Northern Virginia alone and at least another 10,000 unfilled technology jobs around the Commonwealth. Unless skilled workers are found to fill these jobs, many companies may be forced to look abroad to hire qualified candidates or even relocate outside Virginia.

The VHTP creates a stronger partnership between the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and high-tech businesses. The VHTP conducts a summer internship program that helps tech companies find skilled workers from the many talented students that attend these schools. The Partnership opens up more doors of opportunity for these schools to the high-tech community. The internship program exposes students from these academic institutions to the growing and diverse employment opportunities within the high-tech sector. Beyond creating more job opportunities, the VHTP provides both the schools and companies with better access to the valuable resources each has to offer.

The five Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Virginia (Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Saint Paul’s College, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University) currently enroll nearly 19,000 students. Over 2,000 of those students are in technology, mathematics and science degree programs.

Run by The CollisWarner Foundation, the Virginia High-Tech Partnership begins its second successful year. Last year, the Virginia High-Tech Partnership placed 24 student interns in 17 high-tech companies, with many students receiving full-time job offers. This year the program will more than double in size. More than 50 companies from across Virginia, representing a diverse range of high-tech businesses, have agreed to participate in the program.