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Nov 29, 2023

Our conversation for The Valley Business Today with Shayla Rickard, Business Retention Manager for Frederick County Economic Development Authority featured Mary Sullivan. Mary is the Project Coordinator for the Valley Internship Experience Workgroup (VIEW) of Virginia Talent + Opportunity Program (VTOP). VTOP is a program aimed at connecting students with companies through internships - paid and unpaid. Mary explained that the program's goal is to help businesses access talent and retain graduates, while also providing students with work experience. The program is funded by the General Assembly and is open to all types of businesses, from small sole proprietorships to large corporations. 

Mary encouraged interested parties to visit the program's website: where they can access free resources such as an employer readiness toolkit and online courses. She also encouraged students and parents to reach out to their college career services departments or high school career and technical education personnel for more information. Shayla emphasized the value of the website as a resource for those who may feel uncomfortable asking questions.

Shayla gave details for an upcoming virtual event, led by Mary that will provide background information about the program with a Q&A session to follow. The event is free to attend and will be held on Friday, December 8, 2023 at 10am. Click here for details and to register.

Mary emphasized the importance of businesses investing time in the program and highlighted the availability of resources to ensure a positive experience for all involved. We also learned about a staffing agency resource (available to businesses with 250 or fewer employees) that handles HR tasks such as job postings and payroll. There is also a matching funds program for smaller businesses that requires completion of their free online course about developing an internship program.