Agency lowers barriers to hiring with internships in Portsmouth, Chesapeake

The Virginian-Pilot, March 12, 2018
By Roger Chesley


Teens and young adults often struggle getting that first job.

Their resumes might lack clarity. The occupations they seek could be highly competitive. If they haven’t taken a course in interview prep, they’re often flummoxed when coming face-to-face with employers.

Now imagine other hurdles exist: For instance, the job seekers have been homeless for months.

A local employment agency wants to lower those barriers by spearheading a regional internship program.

The pilot project will have 10 slots each in Portsmouth and Chesapeake this summer, targeted at people ages 16 to 21. Organizers with Opportunity Inc., the regional workforce development entity, modeled the initiative on summer jobs programs operated by local governments.

“We were looking at how to aid our youth,” Christina Brooks, director of youth services with the agency, told me. “We thought this was a gap we could assist” with.

Opportunity Inc. contacted me, in part, because it wanted to reach more applicants before the March 31 deadline. Public and private organizations are the employers, from the city of Chesapeake to a security company. Interns will earn $8 an hour and work 20 hours a week, over nine weeks. Would-be interns must live in Portsmouth or Chesapeake.

To find out more, go to and click on the prompt for the 2018 NextGen Regional Internship Program. Or call 757-233-8686. The agency, its nonprofit arm and community sponsorships will fund the project.





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‘Opportunity fair’ coming to Chesapeake for teens, young adults

WAVY 10 | February 26, 2018

By: News Staff

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Opportunity Inc. and the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads are holding an event later this week to help teens and young adults with employment, volunteer and post-secondary education opportunities.

The NextGen Opportunity Fair will be held Thursday, March 1, at the Chesapeake Conference Center from 6-8 p.m.

The fair will feature more than 50 area businesses and organizations, and it’s free for teens and young adults ages 16-24 — as well as vendors.

If you’re looking for work, you’re encouraged to bring copies of your resume.

Also, dress to impress and be prepared for interviews onsite.

Participating businesses and organizations include: AAA Pools, Autobell, GameStop, Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast, Jimmy Johns, Norfolk State University, Ocean Breeze, Regent University, Sentara Healthcare, The Virginia Zoo, Waffle House, YMCA, among several other vendors.

This article can be found on WAVY.COM

Newport News Shipbuilding holding job fair in Norfolk next week

WAVY 10, January 26, 2018
By Kevin Green

The event is scheduled for Jan. 30 at the Opportunity Inc. One-Stop Workforce Center in Norfolk. The shipyard says registration for the event is recommended, but not required.

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Opportunity Inc. One-Stop Workforce Center
861 Glenrock Road
Norfolk, VA 23502
View Map

Learn more about the job fair and register at this link.

This event highlight was featured on WAVY 10

Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center open for transitioning service members

WTKR News Channel 3, January 26, 2018
By Nick Boykin

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – On January 24 the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center opened to service members that are transitioning from military to civilian life, who are looking for jobs.

The center is led by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Inc. of Hampton Roads, and is located at 861 Glenrock Road in Norfolk.

Officials say that the new center will, “help veterans, transitioning service members, and military families identify, navigate, and access services and resources to attain their employment goals and support their successful transition to the civilian workforce in Hampton Roads.”

Established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, Opportunity Inc. oversees workforce development programs for eight localities in South and Western Hampton Roads, said a press release from the organization.

For more information, visit here.

This article can be found on WTKR News Channel 3

Virginia’s workforce development system has a new brand

Inside Business, January 24, 2018
By Sandra Pennecke

Virginia’s workforce development system has a new brand to help in its quest to put Virginians to work.

The system, which consists of state and local partners and 62 one-stop career centers, will be dubbed Virginia Career Works.

Shawn Avery, president and CEO of Opportunity Inc., was on the advisory committee that drove the initiative.

“As we become more laser focused on connecting job seekers to meaningful employment opportunities in Hampton Roads, it is important that we create greater synergy with workforce and economic organizations across the commonwealth,” Avery said. “The efforts taken to unify Virginia’s workforce development system were both strategic and collaborative and I was pleased to represent our region in the development process.”

Avery said he looks forward to the benefits the statewide branding initiative will afford Opportunity Inc. (Hampton Roads’ workforce development board), in terms of greater awareness, support and resources for its One-Stop Workforce Centers and the job seekers it serves.

Local workforce boards will incorporate the new brand on their websites, social media sites, business resources and signage in the next nine months. Federal funds will be used to help local partners with the expenses related to the change.

The branding process, which took place over the course of six months, was a collaboration of efforts between workforce, education and economic development leaders from throughout the state.

According to a news release from the governor’s office, market research was used as an integral part of the process from start to finish.

“Having a unified brand for Virginia’s workforce development system is a critical, but positive, step in our efforts to have a trained and ready-to-hire human talent pool in Virginia,” Todd Haymore, secretary of commerce and trade, said in the release.

Haymore said employers are looking to fill more than 150,000 high-quality jobs throughout the state and will need to fill about 1.5 million jobs in the next 10 years.

“To leverage fully that growth, our workforce system must engage and develop that talent with the skills to fill those jobs,” Haymore said.

This article was featured in Inside Business