AP NEWS

Generation WV fellowship builds pipeline of talent

December 16, 2017

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Generation West Virginia’s Impact Fellowship is demonstrating how to successfully build a talent pipeline, attracting and retaining young people by connecting them with innovating companies across the Mountain State.

Host companies in the program include Core10, a software development company based in Huntington and Nashville, Tennessee, that creates financial technology solutions for the banking, health care, insurance and retail verticals, among others.

Out of nearly 200 applicants, seven fellows from West Virginia and across the country were chosen to work for five innovative companies across the Mountain State in a one-year paid fellowship.

“Our goal is threefold: To connect young talent to innovative West Virginia companies, empower young talent to be a part of the solution in West Virginia, and by doing so, highlight the true potential and opportunity that West Virginia has to offer,” said Natalie Roper, executive director of Generation West Virginia, the statewide organization dedicated to attracting, retaining and advancing young talent in the Mountain State.

Huntington-based Core10 hired two fellows — Jacob Howell and Veronica St. Clair — in the first year of the program, and in 2018 plan to bring on at least double that total.

A native of Hurricane, West Virginia, Howell studied computer information technology with a focus in game development at Marshall University.

“Before I learned of the Impact WV Fellowship program, I was pretty sure I was going to have to move to somewhere like California to find a job in this field,” he said.

As a developer at Core10, Howell has been working on financial reporting software, ensuring that data are handled correctly and that the report is to the client’s liking.

A native of Colombia, St. Clair studied industrial engineering in her home country. But when she moved to West Virginia four years ago, she struggled to find a good job that matched her skill set.

Now, she is a quality assurance analyst for Core10.

“I develop and apply testing processes for new and existing software products and help to identify and resolve any bugs,” she said.

During the course of a year, Howell and St. Clair are working four days a week at Core10, while dedicating one day a week donating their brain power, time and expertise to community nonprofits in the Huntington area.

The two spent the first two months of their internship volunteering their time with the Wild Ramp, a food hub based in Huntington that sells a variety of locally made products.

Currently, Howell is volunteering his time with Habitat for Humanity in Huntington and St. Clair is working with Charleston Main Streets.

Through Impact’s work-four-days, volunteer-one-day model, Howell and St. Clair are gaining valuable professional experience while also getting a nuanced understanding of the challenges our state faces while having a seat at the table to identify possible creative solutions, Roper said.

“After studying cities across the country that have been able to successfully attract many young people to live and work there, we found that fellowships serve as a critical tool in attracting young people to live and invest their energy in a place,” said Roper. “As our population continues to age, West Virginia’s future depends on its ability to attract the next generation of leaders to the Mountain State.”

She added, “We plan to double the size of the program next year. We have no doubt that this program will continue to grow — connecting more companies with young talent across the state and connecting young people with jobs that allow them to stay in West Virginia after graduation.”

The deadline for companies to sign on as hosts for the Impact WV Fellowship in 2018 is Dec. 31, 2017; inquiries should be directed to bill@generationwv.org.

To learn more about Impact WV, visit weimpactwv.org.

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Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, http://www.herald-dispatch.com

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