NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A new collaborative hopes to create a pipeline of talent for employers across Hampton Roads, but this one targets high school and college students.

The 757 Regional Internship Collaborative started with representatives from Old Dominion University and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council with the goal of creating a pipeline for internships in the 757.

Senior Director for Talent Development Whitney Lester from the Hampton Roads Workforce Council says there are a lot of valuable lessons students can learn from internships.

“So much happens outside the classroom and it’s so important to make these connections,” said Lester.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Brian Payne from ODU says they look at internships as critical for student success.

“They shouldn’t be showing up on day one not knowing how to do a job, not knowing about professional skills, not knowing the basics of the career that they’re entering,” he said.

The number of partners has since grown to include K-12 schools, local cities, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other higher education institutions.

It’s all with the hopes of helping students understand the need for outside-the-classroom learning.

“Life outside the classroom is so much different and there’s so much to know,” said Lester. “And that if you have the interest and can make the time for it, you can learn so much just from peering over someone’s shoulder and shadowing and just doing that job for a little while.”

Another hope involves students accepting jobs with businesses they interned with in order to keep the next generation of workers here in Hampton Roads.

“Internships not only are a great way to connect the emerging workforce with the business community to tether them early, but it’s also a great way to keep them here in the region,” said Lester.

Not all the details have been developed for the collaborative, but organizers say they’re optimistic.

“If we can create a true, regional collaborative where we’re working together to ensure that we have the workforce prepared for the future, then it’s going to ultimately benefit everyone,” said Payne.

Campus 757, also run by the Hampton Roads Workforce Initiative, provides resources about internships and discounts for local college students.

Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Whitney Lester at