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Work Here, Live Here, Be Here – Civic Leaders Program Promotes Opportunities in the Ohio Valley

Retention efforts in the Ohio Valley continue to be the subject of conversation within government, business and community circles.  The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley (CFOV) and its Civic Leaders Fellowship Program aims to showcase the area’s potential to those likely to start professional journeys elsewhere with the goal of keeping local talent here.

The Civic Leaders Fellowship Program is a community leadership initiative of the CFOV.  Now in its sixth year, the program matches selected students with participating host organizations and creates an internship paired with personal and professional development programming.

Students apply to participate and are chosen through a competitive selection process that includes an independent selection committee.  The Civic Leaders Fellowship Program is designed to enhance personal skills, expose opportunities to find employment in the Ohio Valley after graduation and to expand networking connections with peers, employers and local professionals.

“CFOV is proud to continue this program that encourages local college students to learn about what the region has to offer them after they graduate.  Not only do they learn about their home community, but they make valuable connections with professionals in their field, further increasing the possibility of them returning to the region and we are committed to supporting these efforts,” shared Susie Nelson, executive director of CFOV.

This year, the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with CFOV as the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program complements existing leadership endeavors offered through the membership organization.

The 2018 class of Civic Leaders includes 14 students from communities throughout the valley.  Of the 14, six students are first-year program participants and eight are participating for a second year.  Students work Monday-Thursday at their host sites and spend each Friday at the CFOV office for personal and professional development programming and team building activities.  This program provides a collaborative way for employers, nonprofits, community partners and foundations to work collectively to improve our region’s potential workforce for the future.

Program Participants and Placements
First-Year Fellows
Corey Cunningham, Ohio County – Wheeling Nailers
Caroline Humphrey, Ohio County – Advanced Family Practice
Jah’Ehir Jackson-Hawkins, Ohio County – US Bankruptcy Court, Northern District
Josephine Mosman, Ohio County – King’s Daughters Child Care Center
Madison Taylor, Ohio County – Wheeling Convention & Visitors Bureau
Savanna Woodford, Belmont County – Peterson Healthcare & Rehabilitation

Second-Year Fellows
Christopher Blackwell, Belmont County – Touchstone Research Laboratory
Stephanie Courts, Ohio County – Wheeling Health Right
Alec Dodd, Ohio County – The Ryan Ferns Healthplex 
Danielle Kaminski, Ohio County – Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED)
Cara Martin, Marshall County – Wheeling Country Day School
Sara Quigley, Marshall County – Children’s Home of Wheeling
Brooke Robinson, Belmont County – Beyond Marketing
Samantha Schaal, Belmont County – Legal Aid of West Virginia

The Civic Leaders Fellowship Program is supported by friends of CFOV and the Wheeling Chamber, WesBanco and FirstEnergy.  To learn more about CFOV and the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program, please visit and click the Projects tab.