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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Ryan Blair, standing, watches fellow students, from left to right, Noah Klenke, Rachel Blair and Lindsey Zelt, work on their presentations for mock job interviews.
Education Notebook

Students get real-world advice

Youth center gives workforce tips in incentive progam

Make eye contact.

Speak slowly and clearly.

Don’t talk like a hillbilly … or a gangster.

All are useful interview tips that students in grades seven through 12 learned last week at Cornerstone Youth Center in Monroeville as part of a summer workforce development program called The Force.

The program is in its third year, said Kent Castleman, the youth center’s founder and executive director, thanks to funding and support from the Allen County commissioners, NIPSCO and the Foellinger Foundation.

“We really hope (students) walk away with some experience and confidence to go for jobs, and that they will have an understanding of the process,” he said.

Each day had a different focus including communication, marketing and sales, interviewing and personal finance.

On the last day, students made presentations on what they learned and their goals and received the incentive pay they earned throughout the week for dressing appropriately, having a firm handshake and paying attention.

“We’re pretty strict with some of it too,” Castleman said of the requirements to earn the pay, which is cash at the end of the week. “It’s really true to life.”

The center also added a new element to incorporate delayed gratification and had planned to ask students to allow the center to keep the incentive pay for a certain amount of time that would provide an additional bonus.

A total of 26 students participated in the program this year, from various East Allen County junior and senior high schools and one student from Ohio.

“I would definitely recommend (The Force) because especially in today’s workplace, you need to get ahead,” said Ryan Blair, a sophomore at East Allen University who wasn’t invited to the program but applied and was accepted.

Nyaing Lay Aung, a junior at Heritage, was invited to be a part of the program, and said what she’s learning will help her be more prepared to look for a job.

“It’s a good experience,” she said. “You learn a lot.”


•Kohl’s Department Stores’ Kohl’s-Cares Scholarship Program honors nearly 200 volunteers with $1,000 scholarships toward higher education. Kelsi Manz, 17, from Paulding was chosen from more than 35,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in her community. Kelsi created Blessings in a Bag, purchasing, packing and distributing weekend meals for 55 underprivileged elementary school students to ensure they received enough to eat while not at school. She has expanded the program to additional schools in the area and has raised nearly $16,000 to support the program.

Alexandria K. Dryer of Columbia City recently was awarded a Study Abroad Grant worth $1,000 from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Dryer is one of 50 students nationwide to receive the award.

•ProFed Federal Credit Union announced the winners of the Carroll R. Phillips Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year: William Davis of Fort Wayne, Rebekah Frey of Angola, Susan Mertz of Fort Wayne, Kasey Renfrew of Fremont and Rebecca Strong of Saint Joe. Each student was awarded $1,000. The recipients were evaluated with an emphasis on scholastic achievement and community service.

Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be available online at beginning in early 2014.

Manchester University

•Manchester University’s four-year professional doctor of pharmacy program in Fort Wayne has earned candidate accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. For students enrolled at the College of Pharmacy – and those considering a career in pharmacy – official candidate recognition by the accreditation council is an affirmation that the Manchester University program is expected to mature into a fully accredited program.

Education Notebook listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893; or email sarah. at least two weeks before desired publication.