The CNX Mentorship Academy focuses on local high school students from rural and urban underserved communities who desire a family- sustaining, well-compensated career in the region that does not require a four-year degree. Given the abundance of low-cost energy, manufacturing prowess, and deeply ingrained work ethic in Appalachia, these careers—and opportunities to build and sustain the middle class—are plentiful in our region. CNX’s Mentorship Academy introduces students from our local communities to career opportunities, helps them build the basic skills necessary for gainful employment, and opens doors to further their career goals.

The Mentorship Academy addresses the region’s workforce challenges by connecting the region’s premier employers, organized labor and building trades, and community-focused nonprofits with local, emerging talent seeking family-sustaining jobs. Academy students— high school juniors and seniors from rural, urban, and underprivileged communities—learn from local leaders and industry experts about the numerous career options available to them through hands-on activities, tours, and personal and professional coaching from the Academy’s mentors. Mentors work closely with students to identify which career tracks to explore through hands-on site visits with Academy partner companies. A key part of our Appalachia First vision, the program meets students where they are, and helps facilitate growth through exposure, experience, and mentorship.

To become involved in The Mentorship Academy or to nominate a student


In its third year, student participation in the Mentorship Academy increased 35% with 85 students representing 21 high schools across five counties.


Mentor engagement grew 60% in 2023, with many mentors participating from other companies in the community.

Academy Growth

We are focused on making a real, and measurable difference in the communities we serve.

Mentorship Academy

The success of the Mentorship Academy is more than the program content. It is the collaborative effort of partners and community relationships within the Appalachian region. 2023 yielded:

  • Expanded opportunities through new initiatives, such as UPMC M.O.V.E.S. paid summer internships
  • Created new partnerships, such as the Pit2Work via Builder’s Guild
  • Established 7 school hubs

We seek to identify true needs within our community so our support will have an immediate and long-lasting impact in helping specific programs within the region meet their goals.


Each of these organizations contributes positively to our region through their work. Their partnership extends their impact through opportunities created in relationship with the Academy.


Our efforts are rooted in supporting communities in our operational footprint so we can foster more opportunities for growth, close to home.


These organizations engage with students and families, providing direct support to the region. Their relationship with the Academy increases access to local resources.

Mentorship Academy Success

2021-2022 93% of students completed the inaugural program, with 100% of juniors returning for a second year.  

2022-2023 81% of students completed the program with 89% of juniors returning for the 2023-2024 year.  

Paid Summer Internships in 2023 included:

  • 4 graduates at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center through M.O.V.E.S. which includes paid internships exclusively for Mentorship Academy students interested in the healthcare industry
  • 3 graduates at Pit2Work, a pre-apprenticeship program for an introduction to the trades, where students can earn certificates, and engage with local trade unions
  • 14 graduates at Energy Innovation Center (EIC) where students are trained on essential pre-employment skills and earn their OSHA 10 Certification

We can use traditional metrics to measure achievement, but in viewing through the lens of the collective success of the stu-dents, their families, the community, and CNX, we see the true valuation of the pro-gram. The following are just two of the many academy success stories, and the partnerships grown within the community, generated from our Tangible, Impactful, Local philosophy.

Mentorship Academy

Keith joined the Academy as a senior following a recom-mendation from the River Valley High School staff. While uncertain as to the specific path of his future, he knew he wanted to work with his hands. He was immediately interested in the energy track, eventually securing employment with Deep Well Services.


Deep Well Services has invested in the Academy since its inception. In July 2023, Keith officially joined Deep Well as a green hat. Keith’s strong work ethic has placed him on the fast track, having earned two promotions in less than a year.  


River Valley High School was introduced to the Academy via CNX employee and Academy Mentor, Perry Lupinetti (left). River Valley connected Keith to the program and has since become a partner to the Academy, serving as a hub to support district Academy students.

Following the individual growth and success of students like Keith, River Valley High School principal, Michael Leasure (right), has connected other school districts with the Academy, leading to these districts joining us as partnering hubs.  

Mentorship Academy

Avontae joined as a senior with the 2022-2023 class. His interests were in manufacturing and energy. As the year progressed, Avontae displayed leadership skills, catching the eyes of EATON, CNX, and a local drilling company. 


Along with these partners, CNX saw Avontae’s leadership skills and ambition. In November 2023, Avontae was extended an opportunity to work in CNX’s Operations Technology (OT) department. Despite an original interest to work in field operations, he stepped out of his comfort zone and is now expanding his skill set for career advancement with the OT group.


Steel Valley High School (SV) was first introduced to the Academy by Deep Well Vice President, John Sabo (left); also a district alumnus. Since the introduction, SV has taken the lead in connecting students, like Avontae, to the program. They serve as an Academy hub, working in partnership to support district Academy students.  

Alumni Profile: John Sabo’s Steel Valley roots drive passion to connect recent graduates with oil and gas careers

CNX On-the-Job Training (OJT)

Twelve graduates of the Mentorship Academy have been employed by CNX. These young adults work in various roles in both operations and support positions. Through the OJT, these young CNX employees have formal mentors from their strategically selected departments and dedicated HR representation to ensure their growth and the department’s success. Graduates employed by CNX include:

Christian, Facilities Maintenance TechnicianAs an intern, Christian focused on various tasks to maintain the daily function of CNX headquarters, and was extended full-time employment after demonstrating his impressive work ethic.

Bikram, Development Program AssociateBikram was paired with a CNX mentor who shared his passion for flying. Their connection opened an opportunity with the IS&T department, where Bikram addresses the first line of technical concerns.

A’Layzia, Administrative InternA’Layzia learned essential corporate skills as an administrative intern, and is now a full-time employee at CNX as an administrative assistant.

Zion, External Relations CoordinatorAs the first Academy hire (July 2022) Zion quickly became the face of the Academy, leading several projects and documenting Academy efforts through the Path Forward vlog and various community events.

Deanna, Foundation and Mentorship Academy CoordinatorDeanna's engagement throughout the Academy year set her apart from her peers and made her a lead candidate for a role with the Foundation. Joining two-months from graduation, Deanna has embraced the role coordinating events and leading essential projects.

Trenton, Lease OperatorTrenton began working at CNX just two months after high school graduation. He continues to grow within his role at CNX, and has already been promoted.

Bryan, Technical Support SpecialistBryan initially joined CNX as an intern set to rotate through opportunities. However, his first rotation made a lasting impression, leading to a full-time offer within the IS&T department. Bryan quickly excelled and worked to strengthen his skill set. In 2023, CNX celebrated Bryan as he received his CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification.

Reiss, I&E Technician IReiss was one of the first CNX hires from the inaugural Mentorship Academy class. He joined the Measurement team just two months after graduating from Chartiers Houston High School.