David Hagan, Shelor ’s co-owner, speaks during an RU reception.

Radford University is partnering with one of Southwest Virginia’s biggest automobile retailers to offer internship opportunities to select students.

The Shelor Motor Mile Scholars program will choose 20 rising juniors annually to participate in the new initiative, starting in the spring semester.

The goal is to give students “real-world experiences” through leadership training opportunities, projects catered to develop job readiness skills and exposure to corporate workplace culture, according to university spokeswoman Caitlyn Scaggs.

Scaggs said students participating will also receive $2,500 in addition to participating in the internships primarily taking place during the summer months. The time commitment for each student scholar will vary depending on need and interest, she said.

“Shelor Motor Mile Scholars will have opportunities for paid internships. The overarching intent is that all scholarship recipients will have job shadowing and leadership development interactions throughout their experience, which will position them for future success educationally and professionally,” Scaggs said.

Students pursuing degrees in accounting, marketing, finance, information technology, graphic design, public relations and communications will be eligible to participate.

Shelor’ s co-owner, David Hagan, also owns multiple real estate companies and minor league baseball team the Pulaski Yankees, giving students a variety of internship opportunities such as working in a finance center or learning about athletic marketing, Scaggs wrote in an email.

The university is not releasing the amount of money contributed for the initiative, Scaggs wrote.

“The University and Shelor Motor Mile will pair students with the opportunity most suitable for their professional interests and future development,” she wrote.

The release said the partnership is an extension of Shelor’s Growing the Future program, which donates a portion of its proceeds to over 50 participating K-12 schools and offers a discount to local educators purchasing a vehicle, according to the dealership’s website.

“We knew there would come a day when we would want to expand the program to the colleges in some fashion,” Hagan said in the release.

Matthew Smith, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, said internships are an important part of a student’s education.

“Internships allow students to see the value of what we teach in our courses and experience how the knowledge and skills that they have developed benefit them in workplace settings,” he said in the release.

Scaggs said a selection committee will review all applicants and make final selections. In addition to being in one of the selected majors, students must have at least a 2.5 GPA.

Hagan could not be reached for comment.

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