Mentorship Academy: Supporting Local, Disadvantaged Youth

In 2021, Nick Deiuliis helped to launch a new mentorship Academy focused on providing access to greater opportunities for urban and rural youth within economically disadvantaged communities in Western Pennsylvania.

The next generation of our region in economically challenged communities is losing its path to the middle class, and the challenges start with education and opportunity awareness. Regional leaders who function in the real world of tangible accountability can correct the course and provide guidance to young adults entering the workforce—that’s what the Academy is about.

The Academy’s Mission

The Academy is:

  • Helping fill gaps that are leaving wide swaths of the regional population behind and discouraging access to middle-class, family-sustaining careers.
  • Developing a community of young, socio-economically diverse leaders and provide them an actionable path to a life well lived and family-sustaining career opportunities in the bedrock industries of energy, manufacturing, and small business.
  • Assisting young individuals in building life skills and provide a network of supporters to help them navigate through their personal journeys.

Enrollment and Program Information

The Academy’s first class consists of approximately 30 high school juniors or seniors from urban and rural school districts and economically disadvantaged communities.

There are no fees to participate, and the first class began in summer 2021.

The Academy is designed for high school students who do not plan to immediately attend a four year institution. Such students are encouraged to apply. The program facilitates interaction and relationship building across young individuals who, due to different backgrounds, would normally never meet one another.

Male and female classes run in parallel.

Upon program completion, the Academy will keep in close contact with prior students and continue to mentor and assist over time.

The Academy syllabus and schedule will be posted online, as well as a portal to submit nominations for attendees.

The Academy meets for a full day each month, with a deep dive into a chosen topic and a site/field visit each session.

Prep assignments are set prior to each meeting. Planned topics include leadership, teamwork, developing a career path, good life choices, resume creation/interviewing, household budgeting/personal investing, civics, business, and religion/philosophy. A guest speaker who is a noted authority on the day’s topic will be scheduled for each session.

Site visits include locations such as construction, manufacturing, chemicals, farming/agriculture, retail small business, energy development, logistics, and more. Site visits are coordinated with local companies and organizations.

Program Goals

By the end of the annual Academy program, each student will have developed lasting relationships with their fellow students, an influential network of local leaders as supporters and resources, and a more rounded understanding of the wider region’s opportunities and strengths. Academy graduates will be asked to serve as young mentors for future students entering the Academy in subsequent years.

Program Partners

Founding Academy partners include CNX Resources, The Bus Stops Here Foundation, and the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania. Additional partners will be added as the Academy progresses.

Individuals and organizations interested in participating as a speaker, serving as a host or partner are encouraged to contact or use the form at