CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Generation West Virginia has opened its application process for the fourth year of the ever-growing Impact Fellowship program.

On Tuesday, officials from the organization announced 21 positions with 12 Host Employers across the state for 2020. The Impact Fellowship program is aimed at attracted and retaining young professionals to jobs around the state.

“The program is working to connect people with the kinds of career opportunities they need to stay in West Virginia, come home to the Mountain State or choose to move here for the first time,” Natalie Roper, Generation WV Executive Director told MetroNews.

The program has continued to expand from its roots of seven positions with five host companies in its first year in 2017. Since then, the program has generated 53 full-time fellowship job positions.

Cristin Dolan, a 2019-20 Impact Fellow is in one of those positions as a Staff Scientist/Technician in the Geo-Environmental Group. Dolan, a recent WVU graduate from Wheeling, works for the TERRADON Corporation in Poca and spoke about the program on Tuesday.

“I never would have found this job and be where I am without the fellowship,” she told MetroNews. “TERRADON is just not a corporation that was on my radar during graduation. Now I am so thankful to be where I am because I am learning unique skillsets that will take me far in where I’d like to go in my career.”

Host companies for year four of the program include Alpha Technologies, American Benefit Corporation, Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP, Core 10, green Bank Observatory, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, McKinley Architecture, and Engineering, Pendleton Community Bank, TC Energy, TERRADON, United Bank, and the West Virginia Advocacy Network.

Dolan said she works to apply engineering principals to a variety of geologic and engineering projects. “My background being chemical engineering really lends well to the environmental side of things where I can really lean into the different environmental projects,” she said.

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There have been positions from architecture and engineering to software development, cybersecurity, energy, and the environment, Roper said. She added it varies year-to-year because Generation West Virginia works with employers to fill needs.

“Some years we’ve had more business positions than engineering or a copywriting position versus a research and analysis position. It really varies year to year because we work closely with employers to identify what hiring gaps they have and work to fill the needs,” Roper told MetroNews.

During a fellowship year, Impact Fellows work four days a week with their Host Employer and spend each Friday volunteering at a local nonprofit organization in the state. Roper credits the Volunteer Fridays as a reason behind the program’s 100-percent retention rate.

The press conference at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center marked the beginning of the Phase 1 application period that ends on February 9. From there, applicants are cut down to begin a more extensive interview process that includes a video.

Each position is a minimum salary of $31,000 and includes benefits. Since launching in January of 2017, the program has received nearly 800 applications.