(Pittsburgh, PA.) – Today, Nick Deiuliis announced the launch of an Academy focused on providing mentorship and access to greater opportunities for urban and rural youth within economically disadvantaged communities in western Pennsylvania. The Academy will help fill gaps that are leaving wide swaths of the regional population behind and discouraging access to middle-class, family-sustaining careers.
The Academy’s mission is to develop 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. The Academy will assist young individuals in building life skills and provide a network of supporters to help them navigate through their personal journeys.
The first class will consist of 12 high school juniors or seniors. Six will be from urban school districts in economically disadvantaged communities and six will be from rural school districts in economically disadvantaged areas (no more than one student per high school). Students who do not plan on immediately attending college will be targeted for inclusion in the program. The Academy will be constructed to encourage interaction and relationship building across young individuals who, due to diverse backgrounds, would not typically have the opportunity to meet one another.
Upon program completion, the Academy will keep in close contact with prior students and continue to mentor and assist them over time. The Academy syllabus and schedule will be posted online at nickdeiuliis.com, as well as a portal to submit nominations for attendees.
The Academy will meet for a full day each month, with a deep dive into a chosen topic and a site/field visit each session. Prep assignments will be 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 local authority on the day’s topic will be scheduled for each session.
Site visits will include locations in energy development, manufacturing, construction, farming/agriculture, and retail small business. These visits will be coordinated with local companies and organizations.
Deiuliis will personally fund the Academy’s start-up and first-year operating costs. There will be no cost to attending students. Initial Academy partners include CNX Resources Corporation, The Bus Stops Here Foundation, and the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania. Additional partners will be added as the Academy calendar and program are built. Launch is planned for Summer 2021.
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.
“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,” Deiuliis said. “These high school students are often not informed of attractive career opportunities in the region and may lack mentors to help navigate career and life decisions. That is especially true for students not going to college immediately after high school.”
“Leaders in our region who function in the real world of tangible accountability can provide guidance to young adults entering the workforce—that’s what the Academy is all about,” Deiuliis added.