You may have heard something about ystark! at the Young Professionals Chocolate Fountain networking event that was held earlier this month in the Brehme Centennial Center Conference Room.
ystark! is part of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. They are committed to “attracting, retaining and engaging young professionals in the Stark County area,” ystark! director Aimee Belden said.
“We collaborate with individuals, businesses, community organizations and education institutions to figure out how we can engage and empower our young professionals all with the idea that we will hopefully root them in the community,” Belden said.
The organization was created five years ago. The chocolate fountain event was just one of the nearly 50 events ystark! hosts every year.
Seniors may be interested in ystark!’s fellowship program. The fellowship program is an opportunity for Stark County college students on the cusp of graduation who may have trouble finding work after school.
“[After graduation] you don’t really have a network and a support system like you have in college,” Belden said. “In a lot of ways, we provide that.”
The fellowship is a two-year career development opportunity for recent college graduates. ystark! works with local businesses to place their fellows in “positions that have high exposure, opportunities to interact with leaders [and] work on innovative programs,” Belden said.
According to Belden, ystark! looks for “the best and the brightest who have either graduated from a local college or a local high school.” To qualify for the fellowship program, students must have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher and “demonstrated leadership and involvement in college.”
Students may apply online at any time, as it is a rolling application process. In addition to the online application, a resume, cover letter, transcript copy and three references are required.
The first two ystark! fellows were Malone alumni Mark Wagner and Ethan J. Steigert. Wagner and Steigert were placed with The Canton Repository and Aultman Hospital, respectively. Both started work right after graduation through the fellowship program in June 2009.
[pullquote][After graduation] you don’t really have a network and a support system like you have in college,” Belden said. “In a lot of ways, we provide that.”[/pullquote]
Wagner worked as the new product manager at The Repository. Steigert worked in a management training program and moved through six different offices over the course of his two years as a ystark! fellow. A third fellow, Walsh university alum Christopher Burr, works in an operations and customer service role at Time Warner Cable.
Belden said that although they hope to eventually have three to five fellows every year, “we’re not at that place yet, but that would be our long term goal.” She said the job opportunities through the fellowship vary greatly and “it really depends upon the needs of the business community at the time.”
She said the fellowship provides graduates with career and community foundations and after they complete the fellowship “[fellows] are very rooted in the community and are far more likely to stay in the [Stark county] area.”
Nate Merritt is a contributing writer for Aviso AVW.