Investment funds ‘Food Pathways,’ a professional development program for Niagara Falls High School students
Niagara Falls High School students will have an opportunity to enhance their education and receive professional development thanks to an investment from two foundations focused on strengthening Niagara County.
Food Pathways, a program developed by Field & Fork Network, received a $32,375 grant from First Niagara Foundation and a $25,000 grant from General Motors. The funding will prepare 20 students to take on important careers that help improve and sustain the local food system.
"This innovative collaboration is connecting young people to the community in a unique way by providing career development opportunities while enhancing access to a fresh, affordable and sustainable food system," said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the KeyBank and First Niagara foundations. "Our investment in their future will help strengthen our regional economy and create plans and pathways to help students reach their full potential."
A press release explained, “Food Pathways was developed and piloted last year to address gaps that exist between the workforce and food system employers in Niagara County. A partnership with Niagara Falls High School quickly formed, and a collaboration with the Niagara Global Tourism Institute helped create a comprehensive curriculum to engage seniors in exploring new career paths and learning tangible professional skills from leading professionals to better prepare them for the futures.”
Field & Fork Network Project Director Tom Lowe said, “We are thankful for the continued support from GM, who also funded the pilot, and to First Niagara Foundation for stepping up to fill the gap, enabling us to continue this program. This is a unique opportunity for many of these students, and one that has the power to transform their lives; I feel lucky I get to be a part of it.”
NFHS Superintendent Mark Laurie said, “For the second year, NFHS students will benefit from this partnership. It’s a chance to learn in a practical setting about new career paths and life skills that will stay with them as they transition to college or a career.”
Food Pathways will launch in January 2023, offering 20 Niagara Falls High School seniors a $500 stipend to participate in the 14-week program that explores career paths in the food system. The curriculum combines in-class professional development activities such as personal branding, social intelligence, team building, with food system experiences both in the classroom and out in the field at local businesses within the food system.
Pictured, front row: student Francesca DiCamillo and FeedMore WNY CEO Tara Ellis; back row: former executive director of F-BITES Meghan Boarts, and John Osberg of POWER of Ozmosis. (Submitted)
Professional kickboxer and MMA fighter Joe Taylor with student Khalil Mallory (Submitted)
The press release said, “Field & Fork Network is a New York state nonprofit organization that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. Whether we’re connecting farmers to new economic opportunities or connecting consumers to affordable fresh food, our work is designed to link communities together to make them stronger.” Learn more at www.fieldandforknetwork.com.
KeyBank's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany. Headquartered in Cleveland, KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $190.1 billion at Sept. 30, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation will carry out the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank, which was acquired by KeyBank in 2016. The foundation, in partnership with KeyBank, supports not-for-profit organizations dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods primarily in Western New York. For more information, visit http://www.firstniagarafoundation.org.
General Motors is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.