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Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Southwest Virginia internship program 

The Southwest Node of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative is implementing an internship program to build up Virginia's cyber talent pipeline by increasing the number of training opportunities available to students in Southwest Virginia. The first step will be to identify interested companies in the coming weeks and officially start the program in July 2022. The node hopes to subsidize 60 Southwest Virginia student internships.

The experiential learning provided by this type of internship equips students with highly specialized cybersecurity skills, preparing them to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity talent in the commonwealth and beyond. 

Cybersecurity internships can be virtual, in-person, or hybrid during the academic year or in the summer.

Process

1. Contact

Organizations with interest in hosting an intern in a cybersecurity-related area of work that wish to have the internship costs subsidized by CCI Southwest Node should send a message to cyber@vt.edu with subject line: "Internship Program Request." The email should include the following information:

  • Name of the organization.
  • Point of contact for the organization.
  • Organization address (including county).
  • Point of contact telephone.
  • Point of contact email address.
  • Brief description (2-5 sentences) of the nature of your organization’s work as it relates to cybersecurity.
  • Number of interns you are interested in hiring under this program.
  • A description of the proposed internship program. This should include:
        - format of internship (virtual, hybrid, or in-person).
        - location of hybrid and/or in-person internships.  
        - intern responsibilities.
        - issues/problems assigned to intern.
        - roles/teams of employees the intern will be working with.
        - proposed timeframe of internship.
        - amount of subsidy requested.

2. Provide internship description

After review and acceptance by CCI SWVA, the organization provides a position description for the internship. The position description should include:

  • Information about the organization and the kind of business/work engaged in.
  • Description of the work/tasks the intern will be performing.
  • Requirements needed for the position such as desired majors, skills, any requirements for US citizenship, or other special needs.  
  • Required submission documents such as resume, cover letter, or work sample.
  • Dates of proposed internship and required submission dates.
  • Organization contact information, including name and email address, should be submitted.

3. CCI SWVA posts position 

CCI SWVA posts the position description on the node website to attract students studying at a CCI SWVA public institutions of higher education. 

CCI SWVA Node public institutions include Radford University, the University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, Danville Community College, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research New College Institute, Mountain Empire Community College, New River Community College, Patrick and Henry Community College, Southwest Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College, Virginia Western Community College, and Wytheville Community College.

4. Students apply

CCI SWVA students apply directly to the point of contact provided as specified in the position description.

5. Select intern(s)

The organization evaluates applications, interviews, and onboards the intern(s). The organization may select students through soliciting applicants or identifying students through their hiring processes as long as they are current students at a CCI SWVA Node public institution and the organization’s internship program has been approved by CCI SWVA.

CCI SWVA strongly encourages organizations to consider the following:

  • Recruiting based on skill sets rather than filtering by major.
  • Inclusive hiring practices that identify ways in which potential interns with diverse backgrounds may contribute rather than a checklist of requirements that tend to inhibit broad participation.
  • Gender-based research on how to expand the pipeline.
  • Opportunities provided to students who are early in their undergraduate journeys.

6. Notify CCI SWVA of offer

The company notifies CCI SWVA of the internship offer by submitting the student's name and the SWVA node institution they are attending.  

7. CCI SWVA creates MOU   

CCI SWVA creates a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the organization outlining terms (including the internship timeframe) and reporting requirements. 

8. Funds released

After executing the MOU between CCI SWVA and the organization, CCI SWVA sends funds to the company to subsidize the internship(s).  

9. Internship begins 

The organization conducts the internship, pays the student, and provides mentorship and direction.

10. Wrap-up documentation

The organization agrees to supply the following information to CCI SWVA within one month of the conclusion of the internship:

  • Demographic data for each student (including categories specified by CCI SWVA).
  • Pictures/photographs for news articles and promotion of CCI SWVA events.
  • Feedback from students and organization participants on the program (feedback forms provided by CCI SWVA). 
  • High-level summary report after the internship. 

Conclusion

The organizations are encouraged to extend the internships (at the organization's expense) and consider hiring the student upon graduation. These are significant metrics of the success of the internship program.

The organization must meet all the reporting requirements within one month of the conclusion of the internship. 

Subsidies available

The internship should be impactful and meaningful to both the student and the organization. It should include training relevant to cybersecurity.

A subsidy of $2,500 will be available for most internships in this program. If the internship opportunity is a full-time summer-long internship with exceptional circumstances, CCI SWVA may subsidize an internship up to $5,000. If the subsidy amount does not cover the entire agreed-upon salary for the student, the organization must contribute to make up the difference. 

Requests will be reviewed as they are received for a limited number of internships.