Thirty-five regional employers offering students internship opportunity

(Abingdon, VA) March 26, 2019 – United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating a talent pipeline that prepares Southwest Virginia’s emerging workforce for the jobs of tomorrow through the Ignite Program.  Ignite connects area schools and students with local employers by deploying two simple strategies: career awareness about the vast job opportunities among our regions’ employers and skill development through hands on learning.

Thanks to the thirty-five businesses that are partnering with United Way of Southwest Virginia, more than 90 high school students will have the opportunity to experience the best training ever: work.

Internships build on the soft skills training students receive during the academic year.  Students are taught the importance of communication and teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as the importance of attitude and professionalism.

Mary Trigiani, senior vice president, strategic planning and development, said “New Peoples Bank is excited to welcome Ignite interns this summer. My first job outside our family business was wrapping gifts at Mike’s Department Store in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, during the holidays. Growing up in a coalfields community, a teenager had many mentors. They taught us how to come to work on time, answer phones and make customers feel appreciated. We are looking forward to tapping these roots with our New Peoples Bank interns this summer.”

Travis Staton, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia, said, “I am grateful to our region’s employers who have chosen to be a part of the solution.  This is a great opportunity for these employers to share their insights and experiences with high school students as they prepare for future careers.”

Funding for the internships comes partially through a grant United Way of Southwest Virginia received from GO Virginia Region 1.  A recent grant from GO Virginia Region 2 will allow Ignite to expand into Pulaski and Giles County and the city of Radford.

Thirty-five employers in Southwest Virginia have truly partnered with United Way to build the workforce of tomorrow by offering more than 90 internship opportunities to students. The employers participating in the 2019 Summer Internships are providing month-long, paid job opportunities for students 16+ years of age who are enrolled in high school.  United Way of Southwest Virginia is providing pre-employment training to the students and mentoring training to the employer mentors who will be working with the students.  Each business that participates is receiving technical assistance via United Way’s internship technology, MajorClarity.  Ignite Coordinators at our region’s high schools are recruiting high school students to apply for internships.

For more information about the 2019 Summer Internships available through Ignite, visit

Thanks to the following businesses that are providing internship opportunities this summer:

Abingdon Health and Rehab

Appalachian Drafting, LLC

Barter Theatre

Bluefield College

Bristol Virginia Public Schools

CGI Federal

Dickenson County Public Schools

Emory & Henry College

Farris Service Group

General Engineering Co.

Goodwill Industries of the Valleys

Kirk’s Blessings, LLC

Lan-Le Holdings, Inc. (Wytheville Child Development Center)

LENOWISCO Planning District Commission

Mountain Empire Community College

New Peoples Bank, Inc.

New River Community College

NHC Bristol

Norton City Schools

Pulaski County Public Schools

Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products

Radford City Schools

Radford Health and Rehab

Rooftop of Virginia CAP

Skyway Outdoor, Inc.

Town of Haysi

Universal Fibers, Inc.

Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co., Glade Spring

VCA Highlands Animal Hospital

Virginia Produce Co., Inc.

Washington County Public Schools

West River Conveyors & Machinery

Wize Solutions, LLC

Woodgrain Millwork, Inc.

Wythe County Public Schools


United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Ignite Program provides our region’s high school students with a four-week summer internship component designed to teach critical workplace skills and prepare students for the workplace through hands-on work experience. Internships bridge the gap between the worlds of learning and work by connecting students and schools with employees and employers.


The United Way of Southwest Virginia Ignite Program sparks career interest in the next generation of Southwest Virginia’s workforce through career awareness and skill development.

The program helps bridge the gap between the worlds of learning and work by connecting schools and students with employers and employees. Across the United Way of Southwest Virginia service area, the Ignite Program is investing in the lives of almost 30,000 middle school and high school students, enabling them to realize their potential and be ready to enter and advance in the region’s workforce.

The United Way of Southwest Virginia Ignite Program fights for a healthy, educated, and financially stable workforce of tomorrow.


The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) is a bipartisan, business-led economic development initiative that is changing the way Virginia’s diverse regions collaborate on economic and workforce development activities. The objective of the GO Virginia initiative is to promote the creation of high wage careers, private sector job growth, and diversification across the Commonwealth through incentivized collaboration between business, education, and government. GO Virginia provides grant funding for regional projects that align with the GO Virginia mission, as well as each region’s industry targets and strategies.


United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers nearly 17% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.