Things Are Starting to Get Real

This week, the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy held two sessions over two days at CNX Center to teach students about the importance of resumes and to start building theirs. Our friends at Dress for Success provided an overview on the general format of a strong resume and how to prepare for a career search and interview process.

Resumes are an individual’s passport and first impression that potential employers will review to make hiring decisions. Good resumes lead to interviews, and good interviews lead to job offers. Thus, it is crucial to sport a strong resume when pursuing professional paths.

Resumes should also be viewed as a continual work-in-progress: students develop the resume but then instantly start to think about how to strengthen it with new activities, skills, and accomplishments. If you aren’t constantly working toward improving your resume, you’re missing the bigger picture.

It was impactful to see a common sequence with students. First, some natural apprehension about starting a resume for the first time. Then a bit of fear of not having enough items to list to make an impressive resume, followed by discussions with mentors about what the students wants to emphasize about themselves. This led to the realization that there is quite a bit to fit within a page or two of a resume. A journey from anxiety to confidence in a few short hours.

Best yet, students began to think about what they want to work on to bolster their resumes. The Academy resume sessions have likely opened the door to many new adventures for the students. I expect students, individually and with their Academy peers, will be seeking additional volunteer opportunities and other new experiences to add skills to their newly created resumes.

The young men and women quickly grasped how a good resume integrates its different sections: the skills tying to the accomplishments which link to the references make for a convincing story of the individual. A potential employer reviewing the resume will not only be drawn in but will also want to learn more about the person, which leads to an interview.

This week felt like a turning point, a new chapter of sorts, for the students, the mentors, and for the Mentorship Academy. We are evolving from the chapter of seeing and learning about industries and professions and now pivoting to the next chapter of working on activities and skills to add to the resumes.

Changing times. And exciting times.

Learning About Super-Charged Careers in Power

Last week, the female students from the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy convened north of Pittsburgh to spend the day at the Eaton Power Systems Experience Center (PSEC).

Eaton’s Pittsburgh Experience Center is a state-of-the-art facility allowing visitors to see firsthand the latest advances in electrical power quality, energy management, and safety. The facility is an impressive example as to why Eaton is the world leader in all things power related. And make no mistake about it, power and companies like Eaton make the world run.

It was immediately obvious the Eaton culture starts with the tone at the top.

Students were greeted in the morning with welcoming comments from the company’s President – Americas, Brian Brickhouse. Then Dan Carnovale, Eaton’s lead instructor at the PSEC, held court throughout the day; consisting of everything from short talks by employees who spent their careers at Eaton and in the power industry, to hands-on sessions throughout the facility where students had the opportunity to train on technologies and processes in power systems.

Eaton’s partners at the PSEC were also key participants through the day.

Regional electric contractor Ferry Electric built, maintains, and continually updates the constantly evolving PSEC so that it remains best-in-class. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 5 spoke to the students about apprenticeship programs and career paths as electricians that are available. The hosts for the day represented a virtuous regional economic circle: from professional electricians (IBEW Local 5) to dedicated electrical contractor company (Ferry Electric) to a global power systems giant (Eaton).

The day was a busy and lively one, with the students clearly engaged and taken in by the PSEC and the passion of the hosts for their careers, companies, and industry. After watching the students’ interest and listening to their engaged questions at the various training stations, it’s a safe bet that a couple of these young women will be starting their professional journey in the power industry or as electricians.

Next week the male students will visit the PSEC, and we can’t wait to see a repeat of what we saw with the young women. Eaton’s roots trace back over a century and much of it is planted in western Pennsylvania with one of its predecessor companies, Westinghouse. Seeing Eaton, Ferry Electric, and IBEW Local 5 leading the charge for this great region into the next hundred years makes this native proud.

Visit eaton.com to learn more about Eaton, and follow them on Twitter at @eatoncorp, at @ETN_Electrical, and on Facebook and on YouTube.

The Mentorship Academy is an initiative of CNX Foundation and part of CNX’s commitment to investing in its local community. Designed for high school students who do not plan to immediately attend a four-year college, the Academy is focused on providing urban and rural youth from economically disadvantaged regional Appalachian communities with greater opportunities—helping provide these young adults a bridge to family-sustaining careers. Following the mentorship program, students will have developed new relationships with peers and business leaders across western Pennsylvania, a new excitement for the region’s career opportunities and an understanding of how to pursue those careers.

Lending a Helping Hand While Developing a Career Path

This past Tuesday, a group of students from the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy met in the kitchen at First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh to help feed the homeless. The students took part in what is a weekly event run by the nonprofit Outreached Arms. Meals are provided each Tuesday evening at the downtown house of worship.

The CNX Foundation provided the food, and the students helped feed over 80 people on a cold night. The individuals showing up for the meal consisted of both homeless living in shelters as well as those who spend Pittsburgh’s tough winters on the streets.

The students assisted in setting up the kitchen and arranging the eating/seating area to have the feel of a restaurant before guests arrived. Salads, drinks, the main meal, and desserts were provided.

There was no formal career development discussion or exercises at this event. Instead, the purpose was to focus on the here and now, remind us there are neighbors in our community who have nothing, and to take some time out of our daily routines to help care for others.

At CNX, we like to say our community and environmental-social-governance (ESG) efforts are designed to be tangible, impactful, and local. Tuesday evening with Outreached Arms helped reinforce what those words mean in our corner of the world.

Talk to young adults about what type of career they are looking for and you will often hear about wanting a profession where they’ll have the opportunity to make a difference. Outreached Arms opened eyes as to how making a big difference with a small investment of time can be achieved, no matter what career path is chosen.

Perspective informs.

Learn more about Outreached Arms at outreachedarms.org and follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/outreachedarms.

The Mentorship Academy is an initiative of CNX Foundation and part of CNX’s commitment to investing in its local community. Designed for high school students who do not plan to immediately attend a four-year college, the Academy is focused on providing urban and rural youth from economically disadvantaged regional Appalachian communities with greater opportunities—helping provide these young adults a bridge to family-sustaining careers. Following the mentorship program, students will have developed new relationships with peers and business leaders across western Pennsylvania, a new excitement for the region’s career opportunities and an understanding of how to pursue those careers.

Transforming Lives and Communities Through the Culinary Arts

The female class of the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy met last week at the Empowerment, Awareness, and Training (EAT) Initiative, which is housed at the Pittsburgh Energy Innovation Center. Chef Claudy Pierre is the founder and head of the EAT Initiative. Chef invested his day with our students, discussing his life story and how he used the culinary arts to not only build a career, but also to turn his life around at a crucial point.

The EAT Initiative trains young adults in hospitality education, while simultaneously addressing food insecurity within underserved communities. If you want to see what the confluence of capitalism, work ethic, and community service looks like, spend a few minutes with Chef Claudy.

Our students learned the basics of knife safety and then went to work under the supervision of Chef, putting together an awesome lunch of tacos and salsa. The exercise brought home a key motivator for a career in the challenging culinary arts: seeing your hard work manifest into a final work product that is enjoyed by the customer. Few careers offer such a direct and timely connection between your effort and the tangible product.

The day with the EAT Initiative provided a massive benefit of creating an environment where the students not only worked as a team but had fun doing so. Holiday music was playing, students were focused but laughing, and you sensed the group wrapped the day tighter than when it started.

And oh, by the way, the massive Lower Hill District development plan (adjacent to the Penguins arena and the EAT Initiative) is going to offer a range of entrepreneurial opportunities in the culinary arts and hospitality fields. A few students were already thinking about learning the craft and establishing a business.

Chef Claudy delivered a Mentorship Academy trifecta. Opening students’ eyes to a potential career path: check. Inspiring students with a real, personal life story: check. Getting hands-on experience while having a good time: check.

This is the first month where we had to split the Academy themes and events due to logistics. But both December’s Academy site visits were exceptional events that are likely to impact more than a few career paths.

If you want to learn more about the amazing work of Chef Claudy and the EAT Initiative, visit eatinitiative.org, follow EAT on Facebook at facebook.com/theeatinitiative, and follow Chef Claudy on Twitter at @ClaudiusMaxamus.

The Mentorship Academy is an initiative of CNX Foundation and part of CNX’s commitment to investing in its local community. Designed for high school students who do not plan to immediately attend a four-year college, the Academy is focused on providing urban and rural youth from economically disadvantaged regional Appalachian communities with greater opportunities—helping provide these young adults a bridge to family-sustaining careers. Following the mentorship program, students will have developed new relationships with peers and business leaders across western Pennsylvania, a new excitement for the region’s career opportunities and an understanding of how to pursue those careers.

From Green Hat to Lead Hand and a Six-Figure Income

The companies powering America’s shale revolution truly “rock”

The male students of the CNX Foundation Mentorship Academy convened this past Friday at Deep Well Services’ training headquarters in beautiful Zelienople, Pa., to learn about a career in the oil and natural gas field services industry. Joining our host Deep Well was Evolution Well Services, the premier and most innovative completions company in the natural gas industry.

The leadership of both host companies invested their time throughout the day presenting and showing what a career in oil and natural gas field services looks like.

When I say the leadership, I mean the leadership. Deep Well CEO Mark Marmo, VP of Business Development John Sabo, and their wider leadership team participated through the day, continuously engaging the students. The Evolution team, led by Northeast Regional Manager Ryan McCann, exuded enthusiasm about their jobs and America’s energy industry that was impossible to miss. Spending the day with true leaders like these makes you extremely proud of our energy industry.

Students rotated across four hands-on modules, tours, and talks to get a better feel for the industry culture and the type of work encountered in these professions. What was special was having instructors covering topics and professions they know because they live it every day.

The compensation is, in a word, unrivaled.

An individual coming out of high school can start as a ‘green hat’ making $19/hour, enjoying a 401k savings plan, having health insurance, and receiving a $50 per diem to cover food expenses while working on the road.

Within 90 days, and with the focus to achieve proficiency with a checklist of on-the-job skills, the individual can progress from ‘green hat’ to ‘roughneck,’ where the pay increases substantially. With further skill progression, in a short period of time the ‘roughneck’ can achieve ‘lead hand’ status, where the all-in compensation levels are around the $100,000 level. None of it requiring a college degree; instead, what is required is a good work ethic, the ability to perform as part of a team, and the grit to keep at it and continually improve.

This was a full and busy day that offered three major takeaways:

First, the students are getting more engaged with hosts and topics as the Academy progresses. Lots of questions this week. I think we will see more than a few life careers determined over the course of this first Academy year. I sense a lot of the careers will be earning family-sustaining wages—providing financial independence and limitless opportunity.

Second, there are some stellar companies and leaders of those companies in western Pennsylvania that are too under-the-radar. Deep Well Services is a massive regional success story that should be trumpeted from the western Pennsylvania hilltops. Evolution Well Services is innovating completions and natural gas extraction to the point where no other energy source can compete with natural gas on an environmental basis (including much over-hyped wind and solar). Why don’t regional media, political leaders, and institutions make a bigger deal of these foundational pillars of our economy and quality of life?

Finally, American energy, its leading companies like Deep Well and Evolution, and its leaders rock. I was thoroughly convinced of that before this past week; but it’s always inspirational to see your convictions confirmed.

The Mentorship Academy is an initiative of CNX Foundation and part of CNX’s commitment to investing in its local community. Designed for high school students who do not plan to immediately attend a four-year college, the Academy is focused on providing urban and rural youth from economically disadvantaged regional Appalachian communities with greater opportunities—helping provide these young adults a bridge to family-sustaining careers. Following the mentorship program, students will have developed new relationships with peers and business leaders across western Pennsylvania, a new excitement for the region’s career opportunities and an understanding of how to pursue those careers.