ROUND 4 CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Overview: In 2018, the Virginia General Assembly appropriated funding to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to stimulate public colleges and universities to develop partnerships to provide innovative paid internship opportunities for their students. In 2019, the effort was expanded and enacted into law as the Innovative Internship Fund and Program.
In 2020, through a partnership with the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the program was rebranded as the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-TOP).
The purpose of the program is to expand paid and credit-bearing student internships and other work-based learning opportunities in collaboration with Virginia employers. The program comprises institutional grants and a statewide initiative to facilitate the readiness of students, employers and institutions of higher education to participate in internship and other work-based learning opportunities. The focus of Round 4 is to support regional collaborative efforts to connect employers to students and assure the readiness of employers, students and institutions to increase significantly the number of high-quality paid internships and other work-based learning opportunities.
For the Round 4 competition, each of the nine GO Virginia regions are invited to apply for a two-year grant with the option for annual renewals. Year 1 will consist of planning and partial implementation to complete the tasks listed below. Year 2 and any subsequent years will consist of iterative improvements and scaling of the initiative.
Required Year 1 Activities:
- Convene PK-12, public and private colleges and universities, regional chambers of commerce and economic development partnerships, industry groups, employers, and other relevant organizations which will vary by region
- Inventory existing opportunities for employers to engage with students across public and private PK-12, colleges and universities, higher education centers, and other community organizations
- Begin to identify employer needs for engagement that are not currently available (this will be a continuing activity over time)
- Collaboratively prioritize which of the existing opportunities will be marketed to new employer partners and which of the needed new engagement opportunities will be developed over the first two to three years; consider focusing on the industry sectors identified in the region’s diversification plan, but also consider the needs of non-profit and local government employers as well as students enrolled in programs that are not aligned with the diversification plan
- Create an implementation plan that includes:
- Review of the V-TOP Employer Readiness Toolkit focusing on relevance for the region
- Review of the employer internship readiness training modules to be developed at the state level and a plan for delivery of those modules in the region, including decisions whether to tailor the content and plan for co-delivery or other support provided by college/university and industry partners, while maintaining standards to ensure that employers who complete the program will be eligible for rewards and recognition by the V-TOP initiative
- Review of the student readiness training modules to be developed at the state level, including decisions whether to tailor the content for students in the region; plan for support of students to complete the modules
- Identification of existing student readiness programs in the region and considerations whether to submit documentation to SCHEV to gain approval of those programs as meeting the standards (to be developed collaboratively with SCHEV) so that students who complete the program will be eligible for rewards and recognition by the V-TOP initiative
- Review of the new internship designed at the state level specifically for freshmen and sophomores, which will include a guide for institutions or employers to support the students throughout the experience; regions must determine a plan for supporting students (institutions, employers, volunteers from other companies, etc.)
- In collaboration with the institutions who led a prior event, design a regional event for employers to connect with, interview and hire interns (based on the Hire Virginia event in Hampton Roads)
- Orientation and other forums for employers to learn about:
- Existing ways to engage with students in the region
- The V-TOP Employer Readiness Toolkit
- The employer internship readiness training modules and, for those employers that want guidance to create a new internship program, the process to become “internship ready”
- The existence of the student readiness training modules so employers can make a determination whether to prefer applicants who have completed the training
- The existence of the new internship designed for freshmen and sophomores and the support available to employers who participate
- The existence of the new event for employers to interview and hire interns and information about how to participate
- The method to submit their needs to engage with students in ways that are not currently available in the region
By the end of Year 1, grantees will hold at least one orientation session for employers and will have scheduled the first employer internship readiness training support session. Further, grantees will submit a report of the progress in the region and an implementation plan for Years 2 and 3. The implementation plan should include selected metrics for measuring success, which may include both progress measures and outcome measures. Finally, grantees will submit an estimate for ongoing costs of maintaining the initiative after the initial grant period ends.
Please see full instructions for details regarding limited submission rules, required members of the collaborative, deliverables and more.
Round 4 Call for Proposals
Proposals Due: January 10, 2022
Estimated Start Date: May 2, 2022
Length of Award: 24 months with options to renew
Number of Grants: Up to seven over three years
Award Amount: up to $125,000 per year
Region 2 (Roanoke, Blacksburg, Lynchburg) has been awarded a two-year grant. Virginia Tech accepted the award on behalf of the region. Region 2 Executive Summary
Region 4 (Richmond Metro) has been awarded a two-year grant. VCU accepted the award on behalf of the region. Region 4 Executive Summary
Lynn Seuffert, Senior Associate for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia