Rotarians instrumental in $100,000 mentoring grant for the Austintown Schools

by | Oct 26, 2017

In 2016, members of the Austintown Rotary began an initiative to explore how the club could leverage its experience and community reach to help facilitate communication between the townships businesses and administrators, as well as prospective employers and employees.  The initiative fell under the general Rotary area of service of economic and community development.

Meetings were setup with elected officials, business owners, school officials and local economic development agencies. Brainstorming meetings…to find out the needs of all the constituents involved in the township’s economic health, present and future.

Items such as community forums, speaker events and various publications to promote the township to companies who may look to move in…were discussed.

But it was during a meeting with a representative from the local chamber of commerce that we started to hone in on a particular area of need: Workforce Development.  Specifically…preparing our students for higher levels of achievement.

Most are aware of the issues facing employers across the nation…those of an unstable and unprepared workforce.  Often, a sheer lack of quality candidates, due to a variety of reasons from the benign (poor soft skills) to the malignant (drug abuse).

That’s when we discovered the Community Connectors program, a state grant program created to address these very issues through education and mentoring.

Having the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of our local school system as Rotarians, we instantly connected them with the chamber of commerce to explore this opportunity, and apply for the grant.

Today, I am proud to say, that through the desire, communication and efforts of numerous community leaders, the Chamber of Commerce (and as a result) the Austintown school system was recently awarded a $100,000.00 Community Connectors grant.

from the Community Connectors website:

“In 2014, the governor and Ohio legislature designed the Community Connectors program to bring together students, their parents, schools, communities, faith or values based organizations and businesses in mentoring programs.

The Community Connectors program seeks to strengthen communities, encourage mentoring opportunities and create new pathways for civic engagement that will result in higher educational achievement, higher levels of well-being and health, and workforce readiness for our state. “


Today, I am also proud to say, that this wonderful program would not be taking life in our township without the desire to place service ahead of self, of the Austintown Rotary.