Internship program plans expansion | Yadkin Ripple

With nearly two months of successful paid internship experience under their belts, 50 Yadkin and Surry County high school students are paving the way for the expansion of the Surry-Yadkin Works program. In its inaugural year, the program places high school students in paid internships while offering them dual high school and college credit with valuable career skills acquisition.

The program celebrated with a virtual kickoff Tuesday and announced plans to expand by placing 100 students in internships in the fall 2021 semester.

The current cohort includes eight students from Yadkin area schools. They began their internships Jan. 11 and will work through May 14; they work a minimum of 12 hours per week. Students receive a monthly stipend of $125 from the program toward travel expenses, as well as paid tuition and books for college coursework. Most employers pay an hourly wage in addition.

“They get to learn and earn at the same time,” said program director Crystal Folger-Hawks.

Unifi of Yadkinville is a participating employer, hosting its first ever paid intern in the location’s history, said Unifi Human Resources Manager Smitty Williams. The company is now considering adding a second internship position next semester.

“This is not just for the children, this is for our future,” said Williams, adding that Unifi has 30 to 40 job openings on any given day. “We have to take the time and we have to make the commitment to develop these young people to show them what it’s like to work in our counties and what it’s like to do our jobs here.”

The following area students are participating:

Forbush High School: Kaitlyn Burton, Ameshia Long, and Bethany Vestal, Yadkin County Schools, CNA Interns.

Starmount High School: Gabriela Gomez, Chatham Nursing & Rehabilitation, CNA Intern; Trevor Moxley, Unifi, Maintenance Intern; Jesica Mireles and Justin Najera-Jimenez, Yadkin County Schools, CNA Interns.

Yadkin Early College High School: Olivia Pizzuti, Surry-Yadkin Works, Social Media Marketing Intern.

Businesses interested in offering an internship position next semester should contact Crystal Folger-Hawks, Surry-Yadkin Works Program Director, at (336) 401-7820 or

Lisa Michals may be reached at 336-448-4968 or follow her on Twitter @lisamichals3.

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