Develop, Attract and Retain Talent

Develop, Attract and Retain Talent

Market/Promote Norfolk as a University Town

Norfolk is home to a EVMS, NSU, TCC Norfolk Campus, ODU and Virginia Wesleyan University.  It’s a strength that we have not fully capitalized on and with that in mind, Scott Miller, President of Virginia Wesleyan University, has been the catalyst for an effort to promote the City of Norfolk as a University Town, with a goal of attracting the brightest students, retaining them after graduation and thereby growing the number of well-educated young adults in Norfolk and the region.  A committee composed of representatives from the above institutions of higher learning, the City Manager’s office, GNC and led by Kurt Krause at Visit Norfolk, has begun its due diligence work.

Status:  As part of its due diligence, the Committee will meet late this summer/early fall with Deborah Diamond, President of Campus Philly, a non-profit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live and work in the greater Philadelphia region.  Campus Philly is a potential template for our effort to market/promote Norfolk as a University Town.


LIveNFK Summer Intern/Associate Program

LiveNFK Summer Intern/Associate program, a collaboration between the Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) and the Greater Norfolk Corporation, has been recognized by the International Downtown Association with an Award of Excellence for Leadership Development.

GNC has been collaborating with the DNC since 2015 in producing the LiveNFK Summer Intern Program.  The goal of the program is to help companies recruit and retain the best new talent by showcasing for their interns and/or summer associates what makes Norfolk and the region a great place to live, work and launch their careers, while helping them establish relationships that will make these interns feel “plugged in” to Norfolk.  Since its inception, more than 480 interns have participated in the LiveNFK program.

Status: While LiveNFK was paused this past (2020) summer due to the pandemic, planning is underway for next summer (2021).


Pilot Mentorship/Internship Initiative with Norfolk State University

GNC continues to focus on developing, attracting and retaining talent for the benefit of Norfolk and the region.  Our region would have a competitive advantage if we simply retained the best and brightest graduates from our local colleges and universities.  Unfortunately, far too many of these talented graduates are choosing to pursue careers elsewhere.  That’s particularly true of minorities, many of whom are choosing D.C., Charlotte and Atlanta over Hampton Roads.  With that in mind, under the leadership of Ulysses Turner GNC has partnered with Norfolk State University on a pilot mentorship/internship.

Status:  The pilot mentorship/internship initiative with NSU kicked off with the 2019 spring semester at NSU.  Eight GNC members have been matched with eight NSU mentees.  The current cohort will continue through the fall 2019 semester.  It’s anticipated that the Mentorship/Internship initiative will continue with a new cohort of mentees for the spring 2020 semester that begins in January, 2020.


Advocate for establishment of a full-time, comprehensive Career/Technical High School

GNC continues to advocate for the establishment of a full-time, comprehensive Career/Technical High School in Norfolk modeled after the hugely successful Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Mass., where academic instruction is integrated with technical education, with academic classes in many cases directly across the hall from the technical classes and where applied/work-based learning is the norm.  The need for the CTE High School is more urgent than ever given the regional and national shortage of qualified workers to fill skilled positions in shipbuilding/ship repair, health care and information technology in particular.

Status:  GNC hosted William Symonds, the primary author of the landmark Pathways to Prosperity Report – Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.  Symonds, who is a prominent leader of a national movement to provide multiple high-quality pathways to economic independence for all young people, met with a group of business leaders and made the case for a state-of-the art CTE High School here in Norfolk.

Governor Ralph Northam at GNC’s Annual Meeting in July, 2019,  emphasized the importance of CTE in developing a pipeline of talent, including both persons about to enter the workforce and those adults in need of retraining for 21st century jobs.  The Governor described the proposed CTE High School and Adult Workforce Training Center as both “visionary” and “important” for Norfolk and the region and said that it will require city, private and state support to make it a reality.

The Governor’s comments constitutes a major breakthrough in our work on the CTE High School.  Given the fiscal restraints faced by the City, the State’s participation is essential in order to develop a first-class program and facility in Norfolk that can serve as a model for CTE programs statewide.  The City, under Mayor Alexander’s leadership, is poised to make a significant commitment to get the CTE School built but cannot afford this significant construction project on its own.  Some corporate and private philanthropy will be needed and with the State as a partner we would finally have a realistic opportunity to complete the funding for the project.