Agency Lowers Barriers To Hiring With Internships In Portsmouth, Chesapeake

The Virginia Pilot
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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