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SPARC Awarded ODE Grant For Career Development

The Ohio Department of Education awarded $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants to 161 community-based partners. The Department received more than 700 applications from across the state. Locally. $1.9 million was awarded in a two-year grant to SPARC, who will implement the READY FOR HIRE program, starting this summer, with fiscal oversight from Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center.

READY FOR HIRE will empower and enhance resilient, inquisitive learners with keen interests in their intended career field through work-based learning experiences. The purpose of the program is to impact students who have experienced disruptions to learning exacerbated by the pandemic through focused career readiness and social emotional learning programming that will increase career/college readiness so that students will be prepared for success after high school. Educational partners from Richland, Crawford and Morrow Counties will take part.

Tyler Shinaberry, Chair of the SPARC Council said, “This grant enables SPARC to take its mission to connect students to local career opportunities to new heights, in new ways, and new areas. With the help of MOESC and our incredible team of partners, these summer and after school programs will help the region’s workforce by not only preparing them, but taking students beyond the physical walls of employers and connecting them to actual opportunities waiting for them.”

Amy Wood, the grant director, said this collaboration is going to have a tremendous impact on students in the three counties being served. “Now more than ever, our students need to be able to connect what they are learning in school to their future careers. We are thrilled that through the READY FOR HIRE program businesses and schools will work together to help students develop professional skills, build partnerships with other local businesses and community agencies and coordinate career readiness experiences for the students.”

Because of the scope of the program, jobs are currently available for site coordinators, teachers and youth development specialists. The job postings can be found at the link here, while job descriptions and qualifications can be found here. Mid-Ohio ESC will assist in the hiring process for these positions. 

Mid-Ohio ESC Superintendent Kevin D. Kimmel said this is a great opportunity for area students. “This grant takes learning beyond the classroom and into the workplace. Giving students opportunities to find their passion while still in school will have a lasting impact on them and on our community as they grow into their future careers.”

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