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Community Foundation Funds Programs That Connect Syracuse Students to Career Development

Two grants will help Syracuse students secure internships and mentors.

April 18, 2022 (Syracuse, NY) – The Central New York Community Foundation distributed two grants totaling $65,000 to organizations linking Syracuse City School District graduates to local career opportunities.

On Point for College received $40,000 to offer paid internships to college students from families with lower incomes who are residents of the city of Syracuse. On Point will recruit employers and place students in summer, school year and winter break positions that pay $15 per hour. Following an initial orientation, advisors will check in with students and employers on their progress and determine if any adjustments are needed. Interns will also participate in summer enrichment programs that address career readiness skills. Students will be asked to identify two skills they want to develop during their internships and demonstrate progress toward their goals by the time the internship is completed.

“Students from families with lower incomes cannot afford to take unpaid internships, as they often need to work to supplement their financial aid to make college affordable,” said Samuel Rowser, executive director of On Point. “This project will give students experiences that might otherwise be unaffordable to them, and allow them to be competitive candidates for career-track jobs.”

This two-year effort will provide a total of 14 internships.

Believe in Syracuse received $25,000 to expand its mentoring program, which connects Syracuse City School District students with local professionals. Mentors and mentees connect through an interactive digital platform that allows them to send messages and hold private video calls, set goals and track milestones, participate in group discussions and forums, and access resources. The goal of the program is to help local employers attract and retain talent for their industry’s needs by creating a pathway between local college students and college-educated professionals.

“Our career mentoring program helps students hone their career skills, which will boost college rates throughout our region, and ultimately fuel our regional economy by helping local employers find and keep quality talent,” said Sally Sayles-Hannon, vice president of Believe in Syracuse. “By connecting Syracuse City School District graduating seniors with professionals in our community, we’ll show current students not only that they have a place here – they can also make an impact here.”

By partnering with Le Moyne College’s ERIE21 initiative, Believe in Syracuse plans to double its one-on-one connections from 25 to 50 in 2022.

“The Community Foundation decided to fund these programs because they will help students gain pre-professional experience that will increase the breadth of their professional networks and improve their skills and chances of securing jobs within their preferred field after completion of their degree,” said Ahmeed Turner, vice president of scholarships and student support at the Community Foundation. “If our region can attract, retain and develop local talent, our economy and its residents will thrive.”

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