Virginia Tech®home

Our Approach

Photo collage showing individuals working in the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing fields.

The Regional Internship Collaborative is a network of partners working together to expand work-based learning opportunities for employers and students across all parts of the GO Virginia Region 2 footprint. (Connect with us!) We believe that a coordinated network for sharing information and local data about work-based learning will enhance the quality of the experiences for employers and students, improve the connectivity between employers, students, and institutions, and build relationships across an internship ecosystem. 

Map of GO Virginia Region 2
GO Virginia Region 2 includes the counties of Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke, and the cities of Covington, Lynchburg, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem.

Central to our approach is the understanding that there is not a one-size fits all solution for work-based learning. The needs of distinct parts of our region, different industries, and diverse groups of students are not identical. We meet partners where they are and build on existing programs and initiatives to link and leverage their unique goals and objectives. 

Our Focus:

  • Increased awareness and access to work-based learning experiences for both employers and students

  • Improved connections and quality of internship placements

  • The eventual placement or retention of students in full-time jobs

Work-based learning experiences are “opportunities for students to apply and refine knowledge, attitudes, and skills through professionally coordinated and supervised work experience directly related to career goals” (Virginia Department of Education, 2021). 

Work-based learning is essential for students to explore career and employer options. This is a successful learning and training strategy for K-12 students, young adults, college students, adult job seekers, and workers with years of experience.

Common work-based learning models include:

  • Internship 

  • Cooperative Experience

  • Clinical Experience

  • Registered Apprenticeship

  • Youth Registered Apprenticeship 

  • Service Learning

  • Job Shadowing

  • On-the-Job Training (OJT)

High-quality work-based learning provides students with the opportunity to build on their experiences, develop key competencies and skills, and gain a perspective of various workplace cultures. These factors help to develop more confident and competitive graduates who successfully complete their degrees and are ready for work. We hope that positive work experience with mentoring organizations will encourage more graduates to choose to work with the same company or another company within Virginia. 

  • GO Virginia Region 2 has documented clusters of industries where unique strengths exist to build out a vibrant regional economy. Transportation & Automation, Materials & Machinery Manufacturing, Life Sciences & Healthcare, and IT & Emerging Technology all feature above average wages and positions that are consistently going unfilled. 
  • We recognize the role that internships and experiential learning activities play in creating relationships and connections that fill pipelines between education and employment. We will work with regional businesses, including but not limited to GO Virginia targeted industries, to examine talent needs, understand how employers are currently using interns, and learn what training or assistance employers need to create quality internships.

What’s next?

Our first year is dedicated to planning and delivering initial pilot activities. We have the opportunity to take a close look at what our region has in place, assess the gaps, and build bridges between the workplace, education institutions, and students for high-quality, paid work-based learning experiences that make a significant difference for both students and our regional industry.

In 2022, we plan to:

  • Conduct and share an inventory of education and workforce development institutions that support work-based learning,

  • Recruit new employers to engage with these efforts,

  • Share new tools developed by the Virginia Talent Opportunity Partnership to help employers and students, and

  • Hold an annual collaborative event to connect employers and students