Virginia Tech and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop research collaborations and educational and training programs that will serve COG's constituents and provide Virginia Tech with unique research and educational opportunities related to metropolitan issues.

"As Virginia Tech's presence in the National Capital Region continues to grow, we welcome this opportunity to form a collaboration with one of the nation's most outstanding regional councils. Together, we will work to create and implement valuable projects and programs designed to mutually benefit our interests," said Jim Bohland, executive director of operations for Virginia Tech's National Capital Region.

A small grants program funded by the Virginia Tech Graduate School will support graduate student work on projects relevant to COG. "The intent of this program is to provide a foundation for work that will lead to larger funded research programs with Virginia Tech and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments as partners," Bohland said.

"The metropolitan Washington region should greatly benefit from Virginia Tech's research capabilities and other resources," said David Robertson, COG's executive director.

"This partnership will not only assist in addressing regional problems, it will provide the research capability necessary to validate theory. COG staff is tasked to meet the needs of its membership. With a partner such as Virginia Tech, solutions can be analyzed and best practices identified and shared within a national and international community," said Calvin Smith, director of COG's Human Services, Planning and Public Safety department.

In addition to research, the MOU focuses on education and training programs. These will include, but are not be limited to, internships for Virginia Tech students that will involve them in COG projects. In turn, Virginia Tech will offer training programs for COG members and assist in the design and implementation of planned programs such as "School to Careers," which helps high school students make the transition to higher education or to professional employment.

"This MOU simply extends the university's commitment to the region and provides a perfect model for fulfilling the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)" Bohland said.

Virginia Tech has fostered a growing partnership with the metropolitan Washington community since 1969. Today, the university's presence in the National Capital Region includes graduate programs and research centers in Alexandria, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg. In addition to supporting the university's teaching and research mission, Virginia Tech's National Capital Region has established collaborations with local and federal agencies, businesses, and other institutions of higher education.

COG is the association of 19 local governments working together for a better metropolitan region.

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