$100,000 awarded to Regional Chamber for Austintown school program

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio Department of Education awarded the Regional Chamber a $100,000 grant to implement its school mentorship program in the Austintown Local School District, according to a press release from the chamber.

Community Connectors is a program aimed at preparing students in 11th and 12th grade for the workforce by connecting them with local job, mentorship and internship opportunities. Students also get the chance to job shadow and learn basic job skills such as interviewing, resume writing and time management.

Nick Santucci, manager of Education and Workforce Development at the Regional Chamber, said the chamber looks forward to beginning the Community Connectors program in Austintown.

“Soft skills and professional skills are essential not only for students but for adults when going through interview processes and other avenue of employment,” he said.

Vince Colaluca, the Austintown school superintendent, said the school is excited for the opportunity because it can help their students connect with people who can provide job opportunities.

The chamber received grants from the ODE to fund the program in Youngstown City Schools for the 2015- 2016 and 2016-2017 school years and in Warren City Schools for the 2016-2017 year. The department didn’t renew the grant for those cities for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year because they suggest those programs become self-sustaining.

Santucci said the chamber was disappointed that the Youngstown and Warren school grants weren’t renewed, but they were proud of the work they accomplished.

“We plan to explore all options to determine whether the programs may be sustained within the schools and with our partners,” he said.

All 150 students who were involved in the program in Youngstown received job opportunities.

In order to be eligible to participate in the Community Connectors program, students must have a 2.0 GPA and be recommended by a teacher.