Expanding Education to Meet the Workforce Needs of Tomorrow

  • By 2020, there will be a 10 million job shortfall in skilled labor market. The average age of skilled workers is 55 years old. John Handley High School will reach maximum capacity in the near future. These are the challenges facing Winchester Public Schools and the community. 

    Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center logo Rising to the challenge, the new Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center will prepare Winchester students and community members for the new workforce of tomorrow. Our goal is to ensure that every student is prepared and empowered with a marketable skill that leads to full, high-paying employment and that every regional industry is fully supplied with dedicated, skilled workers that will sustain and improve their business model.

    A joint venture with Lord Fairfax Community College and local industry partners, the Innovation Center will train and equip youth and adults to meet the demands of the regional job market. Using hands-on learning strategies, students will develop the necessary skills that will lead to marketable certifications. Industry partners will play an active role in the development of the program of study, while also committing to work-based learning opportunities for students. Lord Fairfax Community College will provide instructors and equipment for certification and credit bearing courses. The Innovation Center will be a hub of workforce development for the community, serving both high school students and adults.

    Center to Open in 2021

    Slated to open in the fall of 2021, funding for the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center is coming from a mix of private and public donations, as well as skills and labor donated by local businesses. Coverage of the Winchester Public Schools announcement can be found at at Local DVM News.

    * Visit our Project Timeline & Photos page for construction updates including pictures captured during the renovation and construction process.

A Cutting-Edge Facility

  • The culture at the Innovation Center will be interdisciplinary and organized into industry themes where CTE teachers, academic teachers and students will be working together on real-world problems. Lord Fairfax Workforce Solutions will also partner to increase opportunities. All JHHS students will have an opportunity to have an experience at the Innovation Center and it will also be open to help train adults.

    Three academies will be housed at the Innovation Center -- Information Technology Academy, Professional Skills Academy, and Health Sciences Academy -- each offering programs that will equip students with the skills and credentials needed for a career in their respective field.