Helping Delaware State University Students Launch Careers

Capital One is supporting innovative workforce development programs that create ripple effects across Delaware

Building upon its historic donation of a $4.7 million facility to Delaware State University in 2021, Capital One is continuing to support the HBCU’s efforts to prepare its students to achieve career success upon graduation. Through two programs, Capital One and Delaware State University are collaborating to introduce students to a broad array of career opportunities.

Virtual Reality Brings Careers to the Classroom

Based on Big Data analysis of actual job operations, Delaware State University’s Virtual Reality Career Simulation provides students access to an AI career counselor where they can learn about various career options and select one or more interesting jobs to navigate in virtual reality. Students experience the academic requirements for the job first-hand, and interact with simulated people and facilities while performing a variety of job tasks. 

“This Virtual Reality Career Simulation project, thanks to Capital One's support, will be a game changer for our students,” says Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen. “It will bring a world of career possibilities to them, including new opportunities to engage with employers, roles and tasks with which they may not have been familiar before. What a gift this perspective will be in boosting self-confidence and reinforcing chosen career paths. Capital One is helping to fortify our students with a visceral sense of what a successful future looks like."

To sustain this virtual reality software, the Juxtopia Urban Innovation and Cooperative Entrepreneurship (JUICE) network will provide Delaware State University students field experience and apprenticeships with software engineers to improve the workforce readiness of its students for computational careers ranging from AI and Data Analytics to software engineering, virtual reality and cybersecurity. 

Additionally, the Expanding Career Services Development Through Experiential Learning program will provide students with stipends for Computer Information Science (CIS) student-led research projects, service-learning opportunities and externships, LinkedIn premium software for graduate students and a virtual four-part series on professional development for all students.

Strengthening Financial Literacy

Additionally, through Delaware State University’s Digital Reading Program (DRP), a group of students authored and illustrated three books highlighting financial literacy concepts with BIPOC representation in each. The books are available for purchase and featured in 74 elementary school libraries across Wilmington to help cultivate critical financial skills.

This program aims to combat the low literacy levels of children in Wilmington’s public schools, as the Delaware Department of Education reported that state test scores showed 75 percent of Wilmington’s 3rd graders were not reading on grade level in 2019.

Capital One’s Delaware Market President Joe Westcott (center) and Dr. Allen (right) read books authored by Delaware State University students to elementary school students in Delaware. Photo Courtesy of Delaware State University.

Jordan Saez, now a Delaware State University graduate and elementary school teacher, penned the book Lincoln’s Big Adventure, which follows the story of an eager and outgoing dollar bill who wants to make a difference in his community. The story teaches children the impact that their money can have when spent in ways to help others, as Lincoln travels from one hand to the next — being a hero to the homeless and a big help to the sick. Jordan had the opportunity to read her book aloud to students across the city during a summer book tour with her fellow authors. 

“Through readings of this book, students have had the chance to choose to be kind and think of money as a tool to help others,” Saez said. “Instead of just buying something for themselves, I heard students say they would like to give their money to someone in their community who could use their help. Students have also said that they’d like to save their money and set goals for the specific purpose that they want to have money for.”

As only 13 percent of children's literature includes multicultural content and only seven percent of authors are people of color, increasing cultural diversity in classroom materials can be an effective way to boost student engagement and improve academic performance. 

Expanding Our Continued Support to Delaware State

Capital One’s efforts to support Delaware State University comes as part of its larger commitment to advancing workforce development through the Capital One Impact Initiative, a multi-year commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity.

“These unique programs further Capital One’s commitment to invest in the talent and promise of Delaware students by creating innovative career pathways,” says Capital One’s Delaware Market President Joe Westcott. “Capital One is grateful to continue to support Delaware State University’s efforts to champion educational equity and create positive outcomes for the next generation of leaders in Delaware.” 

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