IALR utilizes the EmPOWER framework to systematically connect students to careers. EmPOWER builds pipelines of students whose skillsets align with current employer needs and economic development interests.

Driven by public-private collaboration, this custom work-based learning system is making a significant impact on Southern Virginia.

Career Awareness

Career Exposure and Engagement
  • The AspHIRE mock interview days hosted at IALR and partner organizations across Southern Virginia prepare high school students for job interviews and provide professional development opportunities. 
  • Teacher externships, through IALR’s Exploring Careers through Industry Teacher Externships (EXCITE) program, allow educators to experience local industries, connecting the classroom to the workplace. 
  • Sector-focused camps offered by IALR and partner organizations allow middle and high school students to learn about career opportunities in areas like energy, construction, local government and much more.
Career Experience

Skill Readiness
  • Certifications
  • Clubs/ Extracurriculars
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Coursework
  • Out of School Time (OST) Learning
  • Dual Enrollment
  • National Career Readiness Certificate (NRRC) 
  • Work-Readiness Bootcamps


IALR’s EmPOWER framework is an employer-driven system to empower and connect students to careers. IALR built this system by first creating programs to address the needs of employers, schools and students. Looking at national best practice models in career-readiness and work-based learning, we realized that by intentionally connecting our individual programs we could create a powerful career-readiness system. EmPOWER provides a framework for our region to build the pipeline of students (future workforce) our regional employers need in strategic sectors that align with economic development interests. 

Through EmPOWER we can develop the talent our employer partners need AND show young people that they do not have to leave the area to find great employment opportunities. Through career awareness, engagement and experience we can build pipelines of students whose interests and skillsets align with current employer needs and economic development interests. 

This framework is:  
*Model adapted from Jobs for the Future’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-based Learning, Work-based Learning Framework 
**The EmPOWER System, a custom work-based learning system, is the intellectual property of IALR  in Danville, Va., and, as such, may not be used without express permission from IALR. 

Meet our

Program Manager

Jessie Vernon

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Office: 434.766.6772
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Meet The Team