ESCC Unveils “Contact to Career” Program


Paid Internships and Credit for Work Experience

Your Eastern Shore Community College announces, Contact to Career, a program to engage vigorously with students from their first contact with the college all the way through to employment or transfer. 

ESCC Vice President Patrick Tompkins explained, “Too often college students graduate to their parents’ basement couch or right back to their current job. We intend to change that.” 

President Jim Shaeffer added, “The mission and responsibility of Your Eastern Shore Community College is to place into the community graduates who are ready to work.” 

The program will match students with paid internships and will award credit for work experience. “Our vision is a workplace learning experience for all students,” Tompkins said. The program will integrate academic components, such as report writing and interpersonal communication, with applied experience in the workplace. 

Alfie Destro, who will oversee the new program, said, “Shore employers tell us the same thing all the time. They need employees with computer skills, professionalism, and effective communication skills.” Tompkins added, “These are often referred to as ‘soft skills.’ They’re not soft, they’re not fuzzy—they are essential.” 

Alfie Destro, who oversees “Contact to Career”, works with a student to prepare for the Fall Semester.

According to research by AAC&U, more than 80% of employers highly value graduates who have completed workplace learning experiences. “A cornerstone of Contact to Career,” Destro said, “is that graduation is too late to deliver employment skills.” 

Contact to Career initially will be funded with support from the ESCC Foundation and U.S. CARES grants, but the college must secure funding to sustain the program. Tompkins noted, “We need a full-time employee with a singular mind—career, career, career.” 

Tompkins also stated that funding will be needed to pay some of the interns. “Our students don’t have the financial security to do an internship without pay. NASA can afford to pay our interns, but Main Street will need funding.” Virginia Community College System Equal Opportunity Institution 757.789.1789 

Noting that no other community college in Virginia provides workplace learning to every student, President Shaeffer conceded, “Our vision is grand, our strategy bold. But we can’t ignore the right thing for our students and our community just because no one else has done it.” 

The college will be placing students into internships with dozens of employers, so Destro urged, “We need the Shore to partner with us on this.” 

Through Contact to Career ESCC will remain connected to students beyond graduation. “We’re going to call them up,” Destro said. “‘Have you transferred yet? Are you working in your field of study? No? What got in your way?’” 

Shaeffer referenced ESCC’s new brand: “Our culture is YES! – Your Eastern Shore. When we work with potential, current, and former students, we always lead with the same question, ‘How can we help?’” 

ESCC will hold an on-campus Registration Rally, Tuesday, August 10, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. “Come see us,” Destro invited. “We’re your neighbors, and we can help.” 

Interested students can also call (757)789-1720 or email