Virginia Education Wizard Serves 200,000 Visitors and Counting


Published: November 9, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Education Wizard has now served more than 200,000 unique visitors since its introduction last spring. Virginia’s Community Colleges launched the Wizard in March as a one-stop resource to help students and parents explore career paths, identify college programs to reach those goals and find ways to pay for continued education.

“I’m delighted that the Wizard has reached this milestone so quickly but I’m not surprised,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “The worst economy since World War II is pushing people to really think about how to begin or even re-start their career. The Wizard puts a wealth of information right and their hands and makes it so easy to use.”

Since the March unveiling of the Wizard more than 46,200 people have created Wizard accounts. Only one-third of the accounts created came from individuals using Virginia Community College email accounts. More than 40,500 individuals have takes the interests and work values assessment tests. And the average usage session for people visiting the Wizard has increased from seven to eleven minutes.

The number of people using the Wizard is expected to grow in the coming months as the largest partnership in the history of Virginia public education continues to expand the tool to meet the unique needs of people considering the commonwealth’s public four-year universities and public school students beginning in the seventh grade.

Wizard 2.0, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2010, will integrate valuable information from coalition partners and other high-quality data sources, including access to educational programs at community colleges and four-year universities and details about saving for college.

Wizard 3.0, scheduled to launch in the fall of 2010, will allow students to create and store academic and career plans, as well as merge career pathways into those plans. Guidance counselors and teachers also will be able to create Wizard reports about their students.

About the Virginia Education Wizard

The Wizard guides users from finding a career to earning the right job credentials or preparing for continued education. The Wizard’s current features, which will be included in all future versions of the tool, include:

  • Careers: Users can take Interest and Values assessments to find careers that match their interests. They also can explore a specific job and get real-time details about the demand for those jobs and local salaries.
  • Programs and Majors: The Wizard details programs across Virginia’s Community Colleges, including majors and careers. Users can investigate courses offered across the state – or just those at their nearest campus.
  • Paying for College: Users can find out what they can expect to pay at different colleges, then get estimates on how much financial assistance they might receive. The site also details scholarships available solely for community college students.
  • Transfer: The Wizard outlines pathways to four-year degrees, including guaranteed admission to 25 Virginia institutions. The tool plans, tracks and prompts necessary steps for easy transfers.

Registering with the Virginia Education Wizard is easy. The Wizard’s life-like online guide, Ginny, helps users build their profiles, which the site then uses to tailor information according to users’ interests. Users can create their profiles in a few quick steps that take less than five minutes.

Virginia’s Community Colleges developed the proprietary Wizard with $2.5 million in federal funds. Programming was completed by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics and internal IT professionals at Virginia’s Community Colleges. The career and jobs features draw in real-time market data pulled from Chmura Economics & Analytics’ proprietary and patented JobsEQ.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, Virginia’s Community Colleges are 23 individual schools located on 40 campuses across the Commonwealth. Nearly half a million students take classes at one of Virginia’s Community Colleges. Together the colleges enroll more than two-thirds of the total public undergraduate population in Virginia. For more information, please visit myfuture.vccs.edu.



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