Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program works to show college students Greensboro’s appeal

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Becca Brennan and Sienna Standfield are making the most of their summer working as interns at VF Corporation.

The rising college seniors are using this time to think about a big decision they’ll have to make soon.

Do they want to start their careers in Greensboro?

“Growing up here, a lot of people had that mindset of I don't want to come home after I graduate,” Brennan said.

Brennan is a student at the University of South Carolina but is from Greensboro.

Standfield is from Cary but is a student at Elon.

“I'm just kind of making my way around Greensboro and just seeing the type of culture that it is,” she said.

Piedmont employers are facing the challenge of attracting and retaining young talent.

Since summer 2016, the Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program has been working hard to show college students Greensboro’s appeal – it can be a place to work and play.

“We find that a lot of our students who go to college here, they think of this as a college town and not necessarily a place where they can find opportunity and a lot of that’s just lack of industry awareness,” said Lizzy Tahsuda, the program director for the Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program.

Summer 2018 brought in the largest group the fellows program has seen with 114 participants.

They have been placed in internships across 43 companies.

The interns’ summer experience strategically includes career development and social engagement.

This year, a scavenger hunt app is being used to encourage the fellows to visit places throughout the city.

One of their outings included attending a Greensboro Grasshoppers game.

Through the program, Brennan has noticed the city’s growth.

“It definitely is moving more towards that younger professional age and a lot less of just family oriented, which is kind of nice because I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity here for people my age,” Brennan said.

Standfield says the program is an effective way to help recent college graduates consider this area’s job market.

“I think that the more young professionals that come through can kind of influence what Greensboro has to offer for them,” she said.

The fellows program is part of Action Greensboro.

There’s also a mentorship component.

Community leaders volunteer to provide career guidance in their areas of expertise.