Valley Bank is partnering with the Pinellas Education Foundation to help fund scholarships for students in the Foundation’s “Youth Connect” program. Valley has contributed a $10,000 gift, which will be matched one-to-one by the Frances Stavros Career Education Endowment Fund, bringing the total scholarship fund to $20,000.
The Pinellas Education Foundation is seeing an increasing need to help low-income students who are seeking a technical education path, so the Foundation responded by developing its Youth Connect program. Youth Connect provides these youth with services to help them get technical training and ultimately employment in fields like commercial driving, nursing, welding, heating/air conditioning, and public works.
“Valley’s scholarship funds will help us serve more students looking for certifications and technical job placement,” said Dr. Stacy Baier, CEO of the Pinellas Education Foundation. “Our program participants are using the opportunity provided by Valley to reach economic stability.”
Youth Connect students work with Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg College, the National Aviation Academy, Galen College of Nursing and Southern Technical Institute to earn industry certifications and technical degrees. The program’s students are between ages 16 and 24 and typically come from challenging backgrounds.
Youth Connect has helped over 3,200 youth across Pinellas County since the program began in 2007. As examples, scholarship recipients in the past have completed their technical degrees at Pinellas Technical College’s Public Works Academy and now work for the City of Safety Harbor and Pinellas County.
“We believe in giving students a second chance and helping them find ways to pursue a meaningful career,” said Sara Palmer, Vice President and Corporate Philanthropy Manager at Valley. “The Youth Connect program aligns perfectly with our focus on youth education and development.”
Valley’s gift will fund four Youth Connect scholarships throughout 2019. For more information, visit pinellaseducation.org.