Funding Would Expand Internship Opportunities for College Students and Foster Statewide Development of Talent Pathways
RICHMOND, VA — Governor Glenn Youngkin today proposed more than $100 million in new state investments to expand college-level internships and promote collaborative development of talent pathways, two top priorities advanced by the Growth4VA initiative of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC).
The Governor’s budget amendment on internships would add $32 million in new biennial funding to the Innovative Internship Fund to scale up paid internship and other work-based learning opportunities for college students with Virginia-based employers. The proposal enjoys bipartisan support and aligns with budget amendments submitted last week by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) and Delegate Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield). The initiative was advanced by VBHEC, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and the Council of Presidents of Virginia’s public higher education institutions.
Created four years ago at VBHEC’s urging, the Innovative Internship Fund is the primary funding source for the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP), a collaborative effort to connect Virginia students and employers and increase access to internships, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning opportunities in the Commonwealth. V-TOP is co-led by SCHEV and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, whose “Blueprint Virginia 2030” strategic plan urges Virginia’s leaders to scale up work-based learning opportunities to better prepare students for the workplace and help keep talented young people in Virginia after graduation.
“We applaud the Governor and legislative leaders for making internships and other work-based learning opportunities a priority for the Commonwealth,” said Dennis H. Treacy, VBHEC chairman. “These experiences can be transformational for students, provide a much-needed pipeline of workers for employers, and help position Virginia as the Top State for Talent.”
“The college presidents are working together with our colleagues in the Virginia business community and our state leaders to achieve a new and very ambitious goal: to make a paid internship or similar employment-based applied learning opportunity available to every Virginia student who wants one without lengthening the time to degree,” said Dr. Makola M. Abdullah, chairman of the Council of Presidents and president of Virginia State University. “The investment proposed today by Governor Youngkin is an affirmation of our efforts and will advance us toward that goal.”
“Broadly available internships are an important part of our strategic plan to make Virginia the best state for education,” said Peter Blake, SCHEV’s director. “One of the best ways to reinforce higher education’s strong value proposition is to make sure a degree or credential opens the door to better job opportunities by connecting students with potential future employers while still in school.”
Governor Youngkin’s budget proposals today also include $75 million in biennial funding through GO Virginia to provide incentives for development of talent pathways, another VBHEC priority. Talent pathways enable students to move efficiently from learning to earning and have four key features: (i) regional and/or industry-specific collaboration by educational institutions and businesses; (ii) alignment of educational curricula with identified workforce needs; (iii) inclusion of internships, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning opportunities in the curricula; and (iv) the opportunity for a full-time job with a Virginia employer after graduation.
Today’s budget proposals on internships and talent pathways follow through on candidate Youngkin’s emphasis on making Virginia the nation’s talent leader, including his remarks on October 20 at a higher education and workforce conference co-hosted by VBHEC and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce (click on each quote to see the video):
“We must expand the number of available internships and apprenticeships. We all remember our first internships. We were not career ready. They helped us get there, particularly for students who may not have grown up in an environment where they saw businesses every day. We need to prepare all of Virginia’s kids.”
The internship and talent pathways initiatives supported today by Governor Youngkin were first recommended by VBHEC business leaders on October 14, when they publicly urged state officials to take advantage of the state’s unusually strong revenue position to make a “once-in-generations” investment in college affordability and talent development, Growth4VA’s top priorities. Outgoing Governor Ralph Northam’s budget recommendations included major investments in college affordability supported by VBHEC. Today’s budget proposals by Governor Youngkin advance Growth4VA’s strategies for talent development.
“Business leaders are encouraged and grateful for the strong bipartisan support for these key investments in talent and affordability,” said Dennis Treacy. “We will be speaking with members of the General Assembly throughout this session about how these initiatives can transform young lives and help secure Virginia’s prosperity for decades to come.”
For more information on Growth4VA policy recommendations, click here.