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CAO, Chamber launch new leadership program for students with the help of SSU

Community Action Organization of Scioto County and The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce have been working closely with Shawnee State University in recent months to prepare a curriculum for a new leadership development class geared towards youth that will start next semester.

The class is called the Portsmouth Area Student Chamber and Leadership Council and is the first of its kind.

Students who are in grades 11 and 12 may apply to enter a year of teamwork building that is built upon the foundation of one semester at Shawnee State University. They will meet a little over monthly in the evenings, where they will meet elected officials, hear from professionals in workforce development, learn from small business owners and those in the medical field, learn about the important role of non-profits and tourism, and more.

“The class is designed to build the foundations of future community leaders by introducing them to the people behind the action today,” Community Action Organization of Scioto County Business and Community Development Manager Joseph Pratt said. “They will learn beside their peers and build a network that will carry the Portsmouth Area into the next generation. It is an exciting concept that Lisa Carver and I have been working on with Shawnee State and we are excited to see what opportunities are created as we host the class each year and adapt it into something even greater.”

Students who participate will get college credit, be eligible for two $1,000 scholarship opportunities, and leave with greater knowledge and leadership skills.

“This program, we believe, will truly shape future leaders, business owners, and movers and shakers,” Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Carver said. “We have been accomplishing this task for years with Leadership Portsmouth, but we are very excited about meeting with this team of younger people to prime them for success at an even earlier age.”

Once the class is finished, the group will continue to meet throughout the year to plan volunteerism, community events, further their networking opportunities and grow as a team.

There is no charge for the program and interested students may apply for the program at

Classes will begin in late January and students will need to enroll as a non-degree student at Shawnee State.


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