Struthers Schools to Launch Entrepreneurship Program

STRUTHERS, Ohio – The Struthers City School District is in the very early stages of developing an entrepreneurship program for students in grades seven through 12, superintendent Joseph Nohra Jr. and Dexter A. Hollen announced Monday.

Hollen is president of the Struthers School Foundation for Educational Excellence, which would provide $20,000 in funding. He is a former commercial banking officer who today is an investments representative.

The program, described in the press release as “one-of-a-kind” and “the first for students in the Mahoning Valley,” would offer “a business incubator.”

The program is tentatively scheduled to begin next fall.

Its goal, say Nohra and Hollen, “is to provide participants with the tools, strategies and confidence needed to launch and [nurture] new businesses.” Nohra sees it one day allowing successful participants to earn college credit for their efforts and expanding to include schools from nearby school districts.

Craig Zamary, a native of Struthers who’s an instructor of entrepreneurship in the college of business administration at Kent State University, has been hired to write the curriculum. His plan is due Feb. 1, he said.

Zamary signed a contract last week with the school board and foundation to develop the plan, Hollen said. The idea was first discussed about a year ago.

He will be paid $20,000 to develop the curriculum, Hollen said, the foundation to pay half, the school board the other half. And the foundation, which has committed $20,000 to the program, will contribute another $10,000 to the program next fall.

Zamary’s goal is to encourage students to “think like an entrepreneur, regardless of the career they take,” he said. Who would teach entrepreneurship and who might certify them remain undetermined.

The goal of the foundation, Hollen said, is to “transform the [school] system as a whole” by encouraging students to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur. It’s not necessarily to encourage students starting their own businesses after they leave school, the foundation president said, “but to manage [an aspect of a larger business] as if it were your own business.”

Everyone dreams of owning or running his own business at some time, he posited. An entrepreneurial curriculum within Struthers schools could give students the nudge they need after graduation.

Because the program is in its very early stages, neither Zamary not Hollen could provide many specifics. Nohra, whom Hollen credited as the impetus behind the initiative, did not immediately return phone calls.

Pictured: Struthers High School students working in a technology class.

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