MASON COUNTY — Our Community’s Foundation - Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) encourages students and employers to apply online now to its summer 2014 Civic Leaders Fellowship Program.
Participation is open to college-aged students and employers (businesses, nonpofits and government agencies) in PACF’s 11-county service region: Mason, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood (WV) and Washington County (OH). Applications and guidelines for students and employers are on the Foundation’s website, www.pacfwv.com, under the Grants menu tab. The deadline for new applicants is Feb. 28.
PACF introduced this Fellowship two years ago to improve access to employment for area students and develop civic leadership capacity and interest. Participation increases each year. In 2012, 14 college-age students held paid career-related internships for seven weeks, working Mondays-Thursdays and gathering on Fridays at Foundation headquarters for a program of personal, business and civic development. In 2013, with 24 students employed, second year students participated in a new Friday program, working in teams, visiting and evaluating Foundation grant sites and making mini-grants. In 2014, PACF expects to employ up to 32 students from communities across its service region. A 2013 participant wrote, “Because of this program, I’m now much more aware of job opportunities. I’ve been able to network with area business leaders and establish myself as a determined and reliable employee. Not only has the Foundation shown me what jobs could be available to me, but through professional development training sessions, they’ve provided me with the tools necessary to succeed in these positions.”
Fellowships are supported by numerous public and private funders with major support coming from the Benedum and McDonough foundations and PACF. Students receive interest-related paid summer employment in their hometowns with the opportunity to build networks and skills toward post-graduation employment. Employers-nonprofits, businesses, and government-receive a summer intern at no cost except supervision in exchange for willingness to provide a meaningful experience. Students must have successfully completed at the first semester of their freshman college year to apply.
Foundation Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt said, “The Civic Leaders Fellowship is a deliberate effort to engage and retain our educated youth. The project’s scope is larger than we alone can undertake. We deeply appreciate the gifts of time, talent and resources given toward this program-from those who actively fund it; to employers who offer meaningful work; to persons giving of their time on our advisory panel or providing work for students. The out-migration of our educated youth is something we can, and should, do something about. I urge others to work with us. If you’re willing to be a funder and/or can provide a work experience, we’d love to talk with you.”
Sjostedt encourages potential employers or funders to contact Jim Strader, Program Director, at 304.482.7651 (email Jim@digitalrelativity.com) or herself at 304.428.4438, JudyS@pacfwv.com. A video on the pacfwv YouTube channel showcases the program.
Previous host work sites have included: Camden Clark Memorial Hospital, Roane General Hospital, HealthSouth, Artsbridge, WVU Extension-Jackson County, WV Forestry Association, Ritchie County EDA, City of Parkersburg, SDR Plastics, River Valley Health & Wellness, Vienna Public Library, Hyer & Littlepage, YMCA, and the Parkersburg Art Center to name a few. Professional Services of America contributes to the project as the students’ employer.