Students walking down Brock Commons in the fall

An innovative new program that will transform student work opportunities at Longwood into internships that build career-ready skills will launch in the coming months, thanks to a grant from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

Lancers Earn and Learn is an initiative that will develop internship experiences both on and off-campus for students enrolled in federal work-study to link skills learned in the classroom with experiences in the workplace that use and develop those skills.

“A fundamental part of our Civitae Core Curriculum is teaching our students skills that will be valuable in the workplace and help them develop more meaningful lives after graduation,” said Larry Robertson, assistant vice president for student development. “This program will be an important part in translating those critical thinking, communications, and creative problem solving skills into impactful work. Our students in work-study positions will benefit tremendously from this initiative as it grows and develops.”

Our goal is always to put students in positions not only to thrive, but to have work experience they can draw on in interviews or put on their resumes.

Larry Robertson '90, assistant vice president for student development

Longwood has already led innovation of work-study opportunities for students, launching this year FreeLancers, a group of students whose skills can be matched with needs of campus offices and departments for employment on individual projects.

“Our goal is always to put students in positions not only to thrive, but to have work experience they can draw on in interviews or put on their resumes,” said Roberston. “We’ve heard from students that these are the opportunities they find valuable.”

The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia awarded the grants as part of the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership, which connects Virginia businesses that have work-based learning opportunities to Virginia students looking for them. The Commonwealth’s higher education institutions serve as the main catalyst for those connections.

“Many underrepresented and first-generation students must prioritize financial aid work-study commitments over other experiential or work-based learning opportunities,” said Dr. Alisha Bazemore, Assistant Director of Innovative Work-Based Learning Initiatives at SCHEV, in a release announcing the grant. “This effort is meant to break down those barriers, transforming on-campus jobs by improving connections to coursework.”

Lancers Learn and Earn administrators will seek to develop partnerships with area businesses and nonprofits to identify opportunities for student internships in the coming months.

SCHEV last week announced that three other Virginia colleges and universities were awarded grants to transform federal work-study opportunities: VCU, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary.

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