MAKING A MARK: New program aims to recruit, retain job talent in Hampton Roads

Author: Ashley Smith
Published: 6:15 AM EDT July 8, 2021
Updated: 12:08 PM EDT July 8, 2021

As communities slowly come out of the pandemic, businesses are working to fill positions. Campus757 targets college students and grads newly entering the workforce.

NORFOLK, Va. — A new program is helping young, local talent kickstart their careers right here at home.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council launched an initiative in April called Campus757 to connect college students and grads with local businesses and jobs, and it equips them to enter the workforce. Maegan Barnes manages the state grant-funded program.

“Retention really… means not just finding a job that you like but feeling like you belong in an area,” said Barnes. “[Hampton Roads] is a place that you can live, work, and thrive.”

“The Workforce Council did a study in 2019 that showed us… there were over 30,000 new jobs created during a 5-year span leading up to that, but only 9,600 new employees entered the workforce,” said Barnes. “Campus757 is so excited to be a centralized hub for all these amazing opportunities [and] resources that already exist in Hampton Roads.”

Barnes said Campus757 hopes to stimulate the local economy by mentoring and training new recruits to meet the unique needs of Hampton Roads.

“Colleges and universities need to be able to communicate openly with business partners and leaders in… key industries in this region and have transparent conversations about talent pipelines,” said Barnes.

The program’s goal is to not just get young job seekers to stay here but succeed here.

“They want a culture where they can feel that their voice is heard. They want to be respected. They want to have room to grow,” said Barnes. “We want to offer students the opportunity to get the things that they’re craving because if we don’t do it, another region will.”

Campus757’s pilot program, Summer757, is an internship supplement program that launched in June. Campus757 hopes to expand to middle and high school students in the future.

To sign up or partner with the program, click here or contact Maegan Barnes at