Utility company Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is helping the community with the goal of ensuring more young adults in the region have workplace training and internship opportunities.
The company recently presented a $100,000 grant to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) for the NextGen Regional Internship Program.
The program aims to provide paid internships to young adults, ages 16-21 with valuable work experience in their fields of interest.
"At Virginia Natural Gas, we take a lot of pride in our partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council in helping young people obtain their career goals," said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. "It's impressive how the internships provide the skills necessary for students to land that first job, and the area is reaping the economic benefits by providing a highly-trained workforce."
Shawn Avery, president, and CEO of HRWC agrees and sees the benefits of this long-term partnership. With industry partnerships such as the one with VNG, the program, he said, provides a workforce pipeline for both large and small industries in the Hampton Roads area.
"With donations such as this, it ensures we have a workforce the area needs now and provides a future resource for emerging industries," said Avery. "We are grateful to VNG for making sure our regional labor force is prepared as our economy grows."
The Long-Term Benefits of Grants
Many young adults who have gone through the program go on to high-paid apprenticeships or employment with major companies across the Hampton Roads region. Like 20-year-old Kaylan Goshen of Chesapeake, Virginia, who landed an apprenticeship with a major distribution center.
Kaylan was recently offered his dream job at Amazon where he will learn the robotic systems in the warehouse. He credits the NextGen internship program for providing him with the training necessary to gain access to this specialized opportunity.
"The internship program provided the skills I needed to receive this opportunity, such as workplace readiness, self-discipline and how to work on a team," said Kaylan. "Without it, I would not have the apprenticeship at Amazon."
This is not the first VNG donation made to the HRWC. In January 2021, the company presented a $10,000 donation to the organization to connect veterans transitioning to civilian life, as well as their family members, to educational and job opportunities.
And in 2019, VNG made a $25,000 donation to the HRWC for general training programs.
It is also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. It entered two agreements in 2022 to increase the amount of its natural gas supply.