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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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SimVentions offering college training program

A Spotsylvania County-based defense contractor next week is starting a program designed to give college students studying engineering and computer science a firsthand look at the business.

SimVentions Inc., an 80-person firm that does a lot of work for the U.S. Navy in the Dahlgren area of King George County, has had an internship program for many years. This will be the first year of the Summer College Institute, which is for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The six-week course, which starts Tuesday, will involve SimVentions staffers teaching students about government contracting. Students will break into groups to design specific prototypes and go through the process of applying for a government contract.

Nine students from colleges including Virginia Tech, the University of Mary Washington, Christopher Newport University and the Virginia Military Institute have signed up, said Ron Say, SimVentions’ chief administrator for training. Classes run 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Say hopes the program will grow in the future and allow students to get college credit. He said SimVentions is always looking for good employees and that graduates of the program could have a leg up getting a job there down the road.