NORFOLK,Va. (WAVY) — A new program is working to make sure Hampton Roads is an appealing place for college graduates who attend schools in the region.

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council is launching Campus757 to facilitate meaningful connections and a sense of home for students, according to Maegan Barnes.

Barnes, who is the Campus757 program manager for the workforce council, says the organization did a study in 2019.

“There’s a growing labor shortage in this region. What we’ve found is in the last five years, we’ve created 30,000 new jobs. What we’ve seen is an increase in degree holders in this region staying for employment is around 9,600. You can see the gaps there and the jobs we’re creating, the opportunities, the growing industries here. We need qualified talent to fill the positions that are open here,” he said.

Barnes says that through strengthening ties. Campus757 will do that by providing networking, mentorship, volunteer opportunities, and more to help build them up professionally.

They’re also working to build them up personally by exposing them to different social activities.

Barnes says many students don’t really leave the radius around their campuses and that showcasing all Hampton Roads has to offer will help keep them.

“We have the water, arts and entertainment, great food. Hampton Roads has everything to offer and we just want to share that with our students. While yes, you will go somewhere or stay for a job, you’re more likely to stay if you like where you stay and are able to thrive,” she said.

While thousands of jobs are available, Campus757 also wants to make sure talented graduates have the soft skills they need to obtain them.

On June 1st, their launching their flagship program Summ757 which will help teach skills for interviewing, dressing, and others needed for professional life.

Barnes says they’re already getting applications in for the program and are also looking to partner with more businesses to help showcase their industries.

To learn more about Campus757, click here.