YOUNGSTOWN – As the pandemic caused upheaval in the job market, many people reevaluated their careers. Among them was Julie Michael Smith, a community development professional who founded Vista Azul as a result of such soul-searching.
Smith had spent the past decade working in educational technology and curriculum as an owner of Youngstown Business Incubator-based Vista AST.
“While it’s immensely gratifying to work with our team to bring innovative learning programs to the classroom, I was anxious to return to community-based economic development where I spent many fulfilling years,” she says.
Vista Azul provides project management and consulting services to regional nonprofits such as Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.
Smith also supports Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an educational nonprofit that teaches the entrepreneurial mindset and practical skills of business to high school students.
She is working with Choffin Career and Technical Education in Youngstown, which uses the NFTE coursework in its entrepreneurship pathway, and Valley STEM+ME2 at the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center, where it is integrated into a class.