Hope Center Names Roberts Executive Director

SHARON, Pa. — Tom Roberts has been named executive director of the Hope Center for Arts & Technology, which will open late this year or early next year in the former Sacred Heart Elementary School.

The Hope Center is a replication of the National Center for Arts & Technology, the Pittsburgh-based Manchester Bidwell Corp.’s model of industry specific job training and an arts based youth development program. Groundbreaking on the extensive building renovations will be announced soon.

“This brings hope and a big economic impact to the Shenango Valley,” says Roberts, of Hermitage. “It will help those who are unemployed or underemployed as well as high school students. It will be a hand up and not a hand out. This will be another tool in the toolbox for breaking the cycle of poverty.”

The $5.6 million project is funded in part by a $2.6 million grant from a Pennsylvania Economic Growth Initiative Grant and matching funds from the Manchester Bidwell Corp. Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, it will establish a learning center focused on industry-specific job training for unemployed and underemployed adults in the health-care industry, as well as cultural and learning opportunities for teenage youth in public schools in the Shenango Valley.

In addition to the foundation, the project is supported by Penn-Northwest Development Corp., the Shenango Valley and Lawrence County chambers of commerce

“It was Roberts’ successful business and health care background, coupled with his passion for the arts and community service, which made him the logical choice,” said Michael Walton, board chairman. “Tom is not only committed to the mission of the Hope Center, he lives its vision in his personal life.”

Before accepting the Hope Center position, Roberts was employed at Sharon Regional Health System as director of physician enterprise development. He is a board member of the Shenango Valley YMCA and Buhl Farm Park and is active in the Shenango Valley Chorale and the Area Community Theater of Sharpsville.

“I’m thrilled to serve alongside the fine leaders on the Hope Center board and help extend their desire to provide accessible and affordable educational options to residents of our diverse community.” said Roberts. “I am convinced that the MBC model employed by HopeCAT will be part of the economic and educational revitalization of this region.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.