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Hampton Roads Workforce Council’s NextGen Regional Internship Program provides internship opportunities for youth and young adults in Hampton Roads. This is a particularly unique program as the program pays the interns while working in their placements. Moreover, participants, ages 16 to 21, gain valuable experience in a variety of industries throughout the summer.

As there are often more youth applying than positions, it is crucial for local businesses to explore how they can support the next generation workforce. Dr. Garcia, founder and CEO of SimIS, Inc. in Portsmouth is a major supporter of this program and provides internship placements for youth from this program. He believes in the value it brings to the community. He feels “interning young men and women provides and creates a better employee.” He also adds that that it gives the opportunity for the intern to explore a career and see it if is a good fit for them.

In a recent Gallup Poll, the general perception is that high schools and colleges can do better to prepare youth for the workforce. Test scores, grades, and graduation rates are not necessarily signs of future workplace engagement. What employers value, sometimes more than grades, is “on the job” experience. The poll sites some interesting statistics:

  • Only 27% of college graduates had jobs upon graduation; however, of these, 54% had work or internships during college.

Business who offer these programs not only benefit themselves, but also support the future of Hampton Roads by providing youth with meaningful work experiences that can get them started on a rewarding career.


  • Youth: Click here to learn more about the internships
  • Businesses:
    • Contact Christina Brooks, Senior Director of Youth Services,, to learn more about offering an internship
    • Click here for some great tips from National Association of Colleges and Employers.

WHRO Public MediaAmerican Graduate III: Internships

CEO and Founder of SimIS Incorporated, Johnny Garcia and local interns share how internships are not only important to help prepare youth for future jobs, but help employers groom young men and women as future employees.

WHRO Public MediaAmerican Graduate III: Sydney

An internship helped Sydney get her own home and put her on her way to a great job and great life.

WHRO Public MediaAmerican Graduate III: Tyler Hamlin

Tyler gets great hands-on experience at SimIs, Inc.

WHRO Public MediaAmerican Graduate III: Jayce

Jayce dreams of one day becoming an anesthesiologist, so an internship where he gets to learn from medical professionals is a perfect fit!