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.

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. The mission of the Center 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 Shihadeh Innovation Center will be a hub of workforce development for the community – preparing both Winchester high school students and community members 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.

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.

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. The mission of the Center 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 Shihadeh Innovation Center will be a hub of workforce development for the community – preparing both Winchester high school students and community members 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.

Winchester Public Schools Shihadeh Innovation Center

The Center will embody Winchester Public School's motto of "Learning for all, whatever it takes." 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 John Handley High School students will have an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to practical skills at the Innovation Center while adults and professionals can learn a new trade to re-enter the workforce or mentor youth interested in their professional field.

The Innovation Center is organized around three academies – Professional Skills Academy, Health Sciences Academy, and Information Technology Academy – each offering programs that will equip students with the skills and credentials needed for their future career. Designed by VMDO and partners Reader + Swartz Architects, the building will house CTE classes currently offered at Handley High School, featuring high intensity trades and professional skills labs, a health sciences suite, and STEAM lab spaces that support cybersecurity, digital design, robotics, and computer technology. High visibility work labs, dynamic collaboration and presentation spaces, abundant natural daylighting, healthy material and air quality, and reduced energy use were all design-drivers.

Slated to open in the fall of 2020, 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.

The Center will embody Winchester Public School's motto of "Learning for all, whatever it takes." 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 John Handley High School students will have an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to practical skills at the Innovation Center while adults and professionals can learn a new trade to re-enter the workforce or mentor youth interested in their professional field.

The Innovation Center is organized around three academies – Professional Skills Academy, Health Sciences Academy, and Information Technology Academy – each offering programs that will equip students with the skills and credentials needed for their future career. Designed by VMDO and partners Reader + Swartz Architects, the building will house CTE classes currently offered at Handley High School, featuring high intensity trades and professional skills labs, a health sciences suite, and STEAM lab spaces that support cybersecurity, digital design, robotics, and computer technology. High visibility work labs, dynamic collaboration and presentation spaces, abundant natural daylighting, healthy material and air quality, and reduced energy use were all design-drivers.

Slated to open in the fall of 2020, 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.

If we can help educate and give people the chance to make good wages, and also give back to the community while we're doing it, what bigger win can there be?

– Jimmy Robertson Coordinator of Innovation, Career Technical Education, and Business Partnership, Winchester Public Schools

Client: Winchester Public Schools

Location: Winchester, VA

Discipline: Career and Technical Education (CTE) + Innovation Center

Completion: 2020

Size: 46,400 SF