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Surry-Yadkin Works Launches Historic Internship Program in Two-County Region

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Surry-Yadkin Works is the first community-based internship program of its kind in North Carolina, officially beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, that covers a two-county region. The program has hit the ground running with 48 students being placed in internships for the spring 2021 semester.

Surry-Yadkin Works is the collaborative effort of four public school systems in Surry and Yadkin counties including Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Surry County Schools and Yadkin County Schools, as well as Surry Community College, to create an innovative and unique approach to a regional internship program.

Crystal Folger-Hawks
Crystal Folger-Hawks, Program Director for Surry-Yadkin Works

After attending a human resources development training, the students began their internships on Jan 11, and will work through May 15. Students receive high school or college credit for their employment along with a stipend each month for travel expenses.

The program funding is also a joint effort with commitments from the Surry County Commissioners and the Yadkin County Commissioners. An anonymous contributor donated $100,000 prompted by a presentation about the program at an educational summit.

Each school partner representative expressed their thoughts on the new Surry-Yadkin Works effort.

Dr. Myra Cox, Superintendent of Elkin City Schools: "Surry-Yadkin Works uniquely positions our students to focus on their personal and professional growth. The experience of being a learner in the classroom and on the job site provides our students the best of both worlds. They earn high school credit and earn valuable skills from employers that they will carry into their futures. Elkin City Schools is excited for this wonderful opportunity to partner with three neighboring school districts and our local community college. Great things are in store for students in Surry and Yadkin counties.”

Dr. Kim Morrison, Superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools: “We are excited that our school districts in the region will be coordinating our workforce development initiatives. This allows our employers in the area to work closely with our school systems to prepare the next generation of the workforce to stay in Surry County and have careers in which they thrive. We look forward to partnering with our colleagues in these districts preparing our students to reach their dreams.”

Dr. Travis L. Reeves, Superintendent of Surry County Schools: “I am so proud of the Surry-Yadkin Works partnership between Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Yadkin County Schools, Surry Community College, and Surry County Schools. This partnership was created because of a recognized regional need to expand experiential learning and work-based learning opportunities for students. By putting students in local businesses, they learn soft skills including the development of a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and problem-solving while earning industry credentials and getting paid. I am appreciative of the commitment of the Surry County and Yadkin County Commissioners, as well as anonymous donors who have helped to fund this effort.”

Dr. Todd Martin, Superintendent of Yadkin County Schools: “With the creation of Surry-Yadkin Works, the member school districts and Surry Community College have taken a regional approach to economic development. It is unheard of to see four school districts from different counties and an institution of higher learning come together in such a manner to offer job opportunities for students. I am proud that Yadkin County Schools is a member of this coalition, and I know it will provide tremendous opportunities for our students. Surry-Yadkin Works will further enhance the great job we are already doing preparing students to be college and career ready.”

Dr. David Shockley, President of Surry Community College: “All of the school partners have equal representation in what is truly a regional effort to create work-based opportunities for our students by creating a unifying organization for companies seeking interns. Surry-Yadkin Works is special in that it covers two-counties with the commissioners committing funding to the program for three years. It is unique in the state, if not the nation, especially for rural America. We are strong as individual organizations, but we are even stronger united. This partnership will also help our economic developers because they can tout the program to help attract and maintain businesses in our region.”

Crystal Folger-Hawks is the Program Director for Surry-Yadkin Works, and Dale Badgett is the Workforce Development Specialist for Surry-Yadkin Works.

Dale Badgett
Dale Badgett, Workforce Development Specialist for Surry-Yadkin Works

A virtual kick-off event is being planned on March 9, for Surry-Yadkin Works business partners and those businesses who would like to join the effort.

For more information about the program, contact Crystal Folger-Hawks at (336) 401-7820 or folger-hawksc@surry.edu or visit www.surryyadkinworks.org. You can also follow Surry-Yadkin Works on Facebook and Instagram @surryyadkinworks and on Twitter @SurYadWorks.

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