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Channel 3 WKYC features GrafTech International and East Tech High School

PARMA — It started by sponsoring East Tech High School in a robotics competition, but GrafTech’s involvement has grown into much more.

For six years, GrafTech has helped pay for field trips, offered scholarships, internships and provided mentoring.

GrafTech is a world leader in the graphite industry and is located in Parma.

This summer, you will find five East Tech graduates working as paid interns at the company. East Tech High School has one of the lowest graduation rates in the city of Cleveland.

Its graduation rate is below 40 percent. But GrafTech has found students at the school who are motivated, inspired, and want to go to college.

“If you offer them great jobs, they won’t want to relocate,” says GrafTech CEO Craig Shular. Developing young talent in the science and technology fields was part of the plan to stop the so-called “Brain Drain.”

“Because of my experience, I want to be a math or science teacher, and I want to stay here Cleveland. It’s my home, it’s my heart,” says Chris Scott.

Chris graduated from East Tech, and will be a sophomore at University of Toledo.

Over the years, GrafTech has had nearly 20 paid interns from East Tech but the company says more corporate partners need to get involved.

“We need more partnerships in the Cleveland corporate community, there is so much need,” says Shular.