Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership Launched at 2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference
October 27th, 2020

Media Contact

Nicole Bunce

PRESS RELEASE: Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership Launched at 2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership (Virginia TOP), a public-private partnership formed between the Virginia Chamber Foundation and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), was unveiled as part of the 2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference. Virginia TOP is tasked with creating greater connectivity between students, institutions of higher education, and the employer community to expand paid and credit-bearing internship and other work-based learning opportunities.

The Honorable Governor Ralph Northam:

“Virginia is the best state for business in part because of our world-class workforce, and we know that high-quality, work-based learning and internships are key to maintaining a strong talent pipeline and filling the in-demand jobs. By fostering greater connectivity between students and the opportunities that can lead to full-time employment, the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership supports our shared goals of ensuring that every Virginian has equitable access to the resources, education, and experiences to thrive in our Commonwealth.”

Barry DuVal, President & CEO of the Virginia Chamber:

“Access to a talented, well-educated workforce continues to be one of the top priorities for businesses in Virginia. Through Virginia TOP, we have the opportunity to foster greater connectivity between the education institutions, and employers. Virginia TOP will strengthen the transition from learning to earning for all stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth.”

Peter Blake, Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia:

“The Innovative Internship Program (the Program) creates a new pathway for Virginia’s students, not only to meet current workforce needs and regional economic growth, but also to enhance job readiness and higher education affordability. The Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership is a significant public-private partnership to help accomplish the goals of the Program and complement other ongoing efforts to increase connectivity between students and employers around the commonwealth.”

The Honorable Senator Siobhan Dunnavant:

“Virginia TOP will ensure that more students have the resources they need to gain meaningful workforce experiences before graduation. Connecting more students to potential full-time, well-paying careers after graduation is immeasurably important for Virginia’s economic future.”

The Honorable Delegate Kirk Cox:

“The Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership will position our students to lead in an increasingly competitive landscape. By improving the readiness of students, businesses, and institutions of higher education, Virginia TOP will provide the connectivity needed to build our workforce of the future.”

Dennis Treacy, Vice Chair, Virginia Business Higher Education Council:

“Business and higher education leaders know that collaboration works. It creates and grows pathways from school, to college, to good jobs and careers and help ensure Virginia will continue to have one of the best workforce’s anywhere. Our Virginia Business Higher Education Council will continue to advocate for the resources needed for collaborative initiatives that work for Virginians.”

Funded through the Commonwealth Innovative Internship Fund and Program, Virginia TOP, is currently in the first stage of a multi-year rollout. Virginia TOP will continue to develop resources focused on building and retaining a talented workforce with the skills needed to fill in-demand jobs across Virginia.

More information on the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership can be found by visiting



About the Virginia Chamber Foundation: 

The Virginia Chamber Foundation tracks Virginia’s economic competitiveness, conducts research and analysis, and hosts programs – connected to the priorities of Blueprint Virginia 2025.  In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. In the fall of 2020, the Virginia Chamber will begin to cultivate policy recommendations and foster key discussions for the next update, Blueprint Virginia 2030. Learn more at