VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – There are millions of job openings across the United States according to recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Some wonder about the effects of the pandemic and if the next generation is ready for the workforce. One Virginia Beach graduating senior says yes. 

Clara Sanchez-Lapitan attends Salem High School and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. She has a full ride to Rice University in Houston and hopes to major in business and art. The graduating senior wants to become a financial advisor. 

Clara is sharpening her vision by competing in Rubin’s America’s Next Great Intern National Competition. Rubin is an online instruction company. Clara submitted phone skills, email skills, and an essay for the competition. Many skills she learned in her ATC classes.

“I’m just so proud. I’ve known Clara for two years, and I’ve been fortunate to have her in my class. She is the Deca class president and represents the students so well, ” said 
Anna-Lisa Wanack, VBPS/ATC Instructor.

Virginia Beach Public School educators and ATC Leaders want students to be ready for life after high school. 

“The students are getting so many employability skills, they are getting those social skills they so dearly need, and they are learning how to work with other people like employees and their employers, ” said Wanack.

“Career and technical education are of huge importance to the welfare of our nation, not just our locality but the nation as a whole,” said Mike Taylor, VBPS/ ATC Director.

Clara believes she has a “story no one else can share.” She hopes hers can inspire others. 

“It has made me really dial in on these communication skills,” said Sanchez-Lapitan. “I think it is really important to have communication skills. Especially interns because they never know who they are going to meet. So being able to network and talk with anybody you meet is a really great skill to have.”

If Clara wins, she will receive a stipend for professional clothing, headshots, a paid virtual internship, and a cash bonus for her teacher. 

Everyone has until April 7 to cast their vote. The winner will be announced on April 12th. 

Cast your vote HERE.

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