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Chamber Co-Hosts Conversation on Internships

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce recently collaborated with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence to co-host a conversation about internships with several Charlottesville employers. The meeting was facilitated by Lynn Seuffert, Associate for Research Investment for the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia.

Seuffert asked local employers to contribute their expertise as she works to implement the Innovative Internship Fund and Program. The Virginia General Assembly created this program in 2019 to expand paid and/or credit-bearing student internship and other work-based learning opportunities, in collaboration with Virginia employers. The program includes a statewide initiative to facilitate the readiness of students, employers, and institutions of higher education to participate in internship and other work-based learning opportunities.

The goal of this meeting (one of several across Virginia) was to help those who are implementing the program to better understand:

  • What students need to have a successful internship experience;
  • What employers need to ensure a positive intern experience;
  • What institutional practitioners need to ensure success for students and employers, including resources and professional development; and
  • What the new statewide initiative can do to support ongoing efforts, disseminate best practices across the state, and perhaps offer new options from the state level that will enhance and not duplicate the good work already underway.

Several chamber members provided extremely valuable input. Thanks to Kara Chandeysson from Ting, Christy Phillips from WillowTree, and Mike Castle and Katherine Gould from Hourigan, who all highlighted best practices and shared great ideas with the State Council of Higher Education.

The conversation also touched on ways the Chamber could help local employers support their interns, such as facilitating networking opportunities. Helping interns connect with the local community is an excellent way to convert them into valuable long-term employees and residents.  We look forward to continuing this conversation.

Do you have an exciting success story or ongoing challenge in your company's internship program? We'd love to hear about it. Contact elizabeth.cromwell@cvillechamber.com to share your thoughts.

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