The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) will lead the new Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP) Innovative Internship effort serving Southern Virginia. Involving higher education institutions, K-12, economic development organizations and employers, this collaborative will promote and develop opportunities for employers and students to connect through work-based learning. It will also help prepare both students and employers for those opportunities.
“Working with excellent partners, IALR has a proven track record in developing and growing work-based learning programs and activities that make a tangible impact on the regional economy. We are excited to lead this collaborative, which will improve the work-based learning landscape across 15 localities in Southern Virginia.” — Dr. Julie Brown, Vice President of Advanced Learning
This collaboration will have a positive and measurable impact on:
- The number of work-based learning opportunities provided to regional students
- The number of organizations providing high-quality work-based learning opportunities
A $250,000 grant from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) funds this initiative. IALR is the ninth and final regional collaborative grant, which is part of a larger effort by SCHEV to expand work-based learning opportunities across the Commonwealth. Similar efforts are being led by Northern Virginia Community College, James Madison University, UVA-Wise, the University of Mary Washington, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University (in partnership with ChamberRVA), Old Dominion University and the University of Virginia (in collaboration with Virginia Career Works – Piedmont).
These grant funds will empower employers to improve their work-based learning initiatives and connect with students. The primary goal of the collaborative will be to inventory, promote and improve work-based learning and internship opportunities across Southern Virginia. Through surveys and joint meetings, IALR and partners will explore how to expand work-based learning opportunities and better connect businesses and talent. The collaborative will seek to identify and share work-based learning best practices and support options.
Organizations, businesses, economic development organizations and educational institutions in V-TOP Region 3 should contact Jessie Vernon about participating in this collaborative.
“The grant was awarded to the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research to help coordinate efforts with other partners and employers to expand quality paid and credit-bearing student internships and work-based learning opportunities in Southern Virginia. This marks a milestone for the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP), which is pleased to have all nine regions represented.” — Alisha Bazemore, Assistant Director of Innovative Work-Based Learning Initiatives with SCHEV
Over the last decade, IALR has served as Southern Virginia’s lead intermediary for many career exposure and engagement opportunities for K12 and postsecondary students, convening partners and securing extramural funds to support various career development initiatives. Current work-based learning opportunities IALR supports include apprenticeships, internships, mock interview days, teacher externships and high school teamships. This collaborative will extend the impact of IALR’s existing work-based learning framework to better support students at the postsecondary level, resulting in two net new offerings:
- Internship opportunities for college freshmen and sophomores during the academic year
- An interview/hiring event for high school and college internships
V-TOP seeks to better connect students, higher education and employers to facilitate more and improved work-based learning opportunities. Funded through the Commonwealth Innovative Internship Fund and Program, Virginia TOP is supported by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Virginia Business Higher Education Council.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, advanced manufacturing, conference center services and economic development efforts. IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.