The Dominion Post  

Generation West Virginia to promote Impact Fellowship program

Created on:   Thu, Mar 8, 2018   7:39 PM

Last modified:   Thu, Mar 8, 2018   7:43 PM

Submitted to The Dominion Post

Generation West Virginia (GWV) is promoting the second year of the organization’s cutting-edge Impact Fellow-ship program.

The program invites tomorrow’s leaders to work, live and give in West Virginia by offering yearlong, paid fellowships, starting at $31,000 and full benefits, at some of the Mountain State’s most innovative companies.

“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 Natalie Roper, executive director of Generation West Virginia, the statewide organization dedicated to attracting, retaining and advancing young talent in the Mountain State.

“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.”

In reference to the critical role the program plays in keeping young people in the state, Woody Thrasher, West Virginia Secretary of Commerce, said, “I believe the single largest significant problem that West Virginia faces is the departure of our young people.”

Thrasher was a key speaker at a Wednesday press conference promoting the program.

“It’s paramount for us to provide opportunities to keep this young talent at home. Clearly the future is in the hands of our youth, and we need to have their vision play out in West Virginia.”

“Without the fellowship I wouldn’t have gotten a job in my field right after graduating college,” said McKenzie Greer, 2017 Impact Fellow at EntreEd. “This fellowship has given me the experience I need in order to further my career in the communications field.”

Wesbanco’s 2017 Impact Fellow Corey Shetler added, “The Impact Fellowship has helped me to look closer at West Virginia, recognizing the potential my home state has to offer.”

In partnership with Leadership West Virginia and Volunteer West Virginia, the Impact Fellowship connects fellows with career-building and volunteer opportunities.

“Young people stay in places they feel invested in and connected. Through this partnership, we hope to connect fellows with the state and with mentors who can support them in their career paths,” said Kate Reed, alumni coordinator for Leadership West Virginia. “Leadership West Virginia will be hosting Impact Fellows for professional development programming and will connect emerging leaders with established leaders in West Virginia.”

“The Impact Fellowship’s unique model — work four days a week, volunteer one day a week — is providing a new way for young people to create meaningful change throughout West Virginia,” said Heather Foster, executive director of Volunteer West Virginia.

During the yearlong fellowship, fellows are connected with multiple nonprofits to work on community-based projects in 20-week blocks.

“By allowing fellows’ strengths and brain power to shine in their volunteer opportunities, the Impact Fellowship is not only helping nonprofits work to grow and expand, it’s also helping fellows form a deeper connection to the communities in which they live,” she added.