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

  • The Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC™) framework exposes middle schoolers across Virginia to career opportunities in STEM fields and helps them identify the path to obtain those jobs.
  • The Career ChoICE Youth Expo introduces thousands of middle and high school students to regional employers, exposing them to career possibilities and allowing local organizations to invest in their future workforce.
  • IALR spearheaded the adoption of MajorClarity, an online career exploration platform utilized by students across 13 school divisions.
  • Summer STEM Camps at IALR introduce students to career possibilities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in an engaging way. 
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
  • Registered apprenticeships administered through IALR’s Expanding Talent through Registered Apprenticeship (ExTRA) are available in sectors like construction, healthcare, early childhood education, manufacturing, and information technology.
  • The Next generation Of Work (NOW) teamship framework allows high school students to solve a real problem from a real business, all with guidance from an educator/coach.
  • IALR hosts a cohort of interns every summer and also helps regional businesses and organizations provide meaningful internship opportunities. 

Skill Readiness
  • Certifications
  • Clubs/ Extracurriculars
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Coursework
  • Out of School Time (OST) Learning
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Nationa 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

[javascript protected email address]
Office: 434.766.6772
Read More
Meet The Team