HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — More than double the amount of companies will partner with Generation West Virginia this year for it’s Impact Fellowship program.

The organization, which works to attract and retain young talent in the Mountain State, announced Wednesday the program will enter it’s second year with 11 host companies. There were only five companies last year.

“Eleven companies have stepped up and said ‘yes, I want to be a part of the solution in West Virginia and invest in young people here,'” said Natalie Roper, executive director of Generation WV, during a press conference in Huntington.

The companies will offer 17 fellowship positions this year. The program received nearly 200 applications for seven positions at five companies in its first year.

Fellows have been a part of building houses, providing market analysis for farmer’s markets, as well as starting grassroots organizations.

Jacob Howell, a 2017 graduate of Marshall University, was an Impact Fellow at Core10 — a 2017 host company based out of Huntington.

He said he was able to connect with a group of talented individuals who are all working together to form the non-profit group The Appalachian Game Creators Association. The goal of the group is to create game development jobs in the area.

“To work in game development, the field I went to school for, it seems almost required to go out of state, but this program allowed me to stay here close to my friends and family,” Howell said. “It’s given me solid experience in the tech field, half an hour from Hurricane where I grew up and in the same city I went to college.”

Howell said because of the program, he has broadened his skill set, has gained a network of “West Virginia’s best and brightest” and has attained a deeper connection with his home state of West Virginia.

Lee Farabaugh, COO of Core10, said the Impact Fellowship program helps them with recruitment.

“Attracting those folks and getting through the interview process, that’s not easy,” she said. “I look to Impact West Virginia and Generation West Virginia as a key component of our talent pipeline. Marshall is also a key component.”

In this year alone, fellows have donated more than 2,000 community service hours.

Roper said Impact Fellows work four days a week for their host company and spend each Friday volunteering at local nonprofit organizations around the state.

The 2018 Impact Fellowship Host Companies are listed below:

  • Alpha Technologies
  • Buzz Food Service
  • Core 10
  • EntreEd
  • Highland Hospital
  • Mills Group
  • Mylan
  • PracticeLink
  • Quality Insights
  • The Thrasher Group
  • WesBanco

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