Canton Refinery Provides Career Pipeline for Local Students Through a New Program

(Canton, Ohio) November 5, 2020Stark State College’s FAME program and United Way of Greater Stark County partnered with Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Canton refinery to create a new program called Marathon STEM Success. United Way and Stark State College were awarded a $45,000 grant to expand the curriculum of the FAME program.

FAME (Focus on African American Males in Education) is a pre-college program designed specifically for African American men that provides mentoring, academic support and post-secondary preparation through test preparation, assistance with completing the FAFSA, college tours, a summer component and pre-college advising.

The Canton refinery, part of MPC’s Ohio refining division, believes in the concept of shared value, and in the potential ways that their actions impact their community. They have a commitment to many long-established core values including safety and environmental stewardship, integrity, respect, inclusion, and collaboration. 

“We are excited to partner with United Way and FAME, helping provide new opportunities for students interested in STEM-related careers,” says Don McCord, Canton refinery general manager. “STEM programs allow for individualized instruction and set the expectations for success in high-paying careers. Through the FAME program, we hope to enhance life’s possibilities by playing a key role in the sustained growth and creativity of our youth. We’re inspired to helping students develop natural curiosity, teach risk by not being afraid to make mistakes and discover open-mindedness by understanding other people’s personal perspectives. Skills that my team uses every day, and we hope to nurture in our youth.”

Building on the current success of the FAME program, this grant supports a new Marathon STEM Success program, focused on inner-city youth in Canton within 11th and 12th grade and available to FAME & Upward Bound (precollege advisory) students. The program will be free to these students & will teach STEM skills, an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It aims to develop key STEM skills in students, including problem solving, creativity, critical analysis, teamwork, independent thinking, initiative, communication and digital literacy. Up to 25 students will be chosen to participate in the program every session.

The demand for STEM qualifications and skills in current and future jobs is high and will only continue to increase. Students will need STEM skills to adapt and succeed in the years ahead. The Marathon STEM Success program is designed to address a need of limited access to free professional certification in STEM programs and provide the certifications that will allow businesses and technical schools/colleges to take notice of students graduating from the program.

 “Thanks to Marathon and United Way, this grant will allow us to expand the current culture of FAME success”, says Gregory Freeman, Director of Stark State College’s Upward Bound Math-Science and F.A.M.E. programs. “We are excited to develop this program and offer it to our students so they can have the opportunity to develop into skilled professionals. STEM skills are very important for economic growth. Technology influences almost every career now, and it is our job to fill those careers with qualified professionals.”

Participants who complete the program will receive a certificate in Python Essentials, recognizing that they completed a course in foundational concepts and essential elements of programming and constructing Python programs.

Marathon STEM Success starts in January 2021. For more information about FAME, visit , call 330-494-6170 ext. 4208 or email [email protected]

About Stark State College FAME
Stark State’s Focus on African American Males in Education (FAME), a pre-college program designed specifically for African American men, provides mentoring, academic support and post-secondary preparation through test preparation, assistance with completing the FAFSA, college tours, a summer component and pre-college advising. For more information, call 330-970-9950 ext. 4208 or email [email protected] .

About Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is a leading, integrated, downstream energy company headquartered in Findlay, Ohio. The company operates the nation’s largest refining system. MPC’s marketing system includes branded locations across the United States, including Marathon brand retail outlets. Speedway LLC, an MPC subsidiary, owns and operates retail convenience stores across the United States. MPC also owns the general partner and majority limited partner interest in MPLX LP, a midstream company that owns and operates gathering, processing, and fractionation assets, as well as crude oil and light product transportation and logistics infrastructure. More information is available at

About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities by leading in the development of solutions to critical social issues in the areas of health, education and financial stability. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.