CPMHA National Apprenticeship Competition

CPMHA National Apprenticeship Competition

Universities will be set to compete in the CPMHA National Apprenticeship competition where students will apply their majors to a real-world work experience project. Advising the program will be the entrepreneur and founder of the Concussions, Pain, and Mental Health Awareness not-for-profit, Paolo Dell Aquila.

The mentors and judges will be a diverse lineup of business-savvy leaders in the community and professors and the chairs of each department. Students will compete in challenging, business-driven tasks, more focused than ever on up-to-date research and cutting-edge techniques and innovations, testing their ability to work together as a team and apply their respective talents while focusing on several topics: fundraising, spreading awareness, and developing programs and research for mental health issues related to the current and future programs of the not-for-profit Concussions, Pain, and Mental Health Awareness.

The winning team of each year will be given job offers at CPMHA.  In the future, a percentage of fundraising will go to scholarships at the winning university.

Background on Paolo (founder of CPMHA) and how this idea came to be:

Paolo is a former entrepreneur who owned and operated several start-up companies over the years. Around 1997, following his passion to be a filmmaker. Paolo wrote three screenplays, one that was an option and set for production, until the studio pivoted just before development, pulling the plug, deciding instead to run with another urban drama, Eminem’s 8 Mile.

One of his successful companies was Prime Time Sports Training (PTST). PTST started with the idea of being a part-time job for Paolo to bring in some additional funds while still pursuing a career in filmmaking. PTST had only two young clients to start, a brother and sister team in Long Island, New York in the year 1999, whom Paolo coached and mentored, focusing on speed, strength, and stamina geared towards their sport of choice.

The young boy played ice hockey. He wanted to know how to fight and the young girl played lacrosse, both sports Paolo had no experience with. Being a natural-born workaholic and competitor, he wanted to be the best at whatever he put his name to.

He knew what sacrifices he had to make to be able to show results for his clients. So, he enrolled in night classes for sports performance training and went to top-level speed and strength seminars around the nation, learning cutting edge coaching techniques.

The young boy had behavior issues, as well as weight issues, and his twin sister suffered from self-esteem issues. They were only in eighth grade and never saw any real playing time. The two children’s father worked on Wall Street and knew of Paolo from being a well-recognized and honored high school athlete in 3 different sports: football, boxing, and State wrestling champion, as well as having competed in the national wrestling championship at Lehigh University. After high school, due to his Class A Dyslexia and poor academics, he attended Nassau Community College and then transferred to complete his degree in England.

From here, Paolo learned to love mentoring and coaching young athletes. The boy went on to play ice hockey on the Junior National Team, and the girl became an all-state lacrosse player, later playing at Penn University. It was then that Paolo recognized his passion and calling for this time in his life.

Word spread that Paolo was a natural mentor and motivator, and soon he had more clients than he could coach, every parent wanted their son or daughter to have a competitive edge. From this point, Paolo knew he needed to scale his business model, so he began opening summer sports camps as a recruiting system for off-season training. Then, he was able to recruit high-level specialist/coaches who would not only bond with the young athletes, but they would also retain them as clients under PTST Company umbrella.

Not long after, Paolo decided to expand to Los Angeles, California; and southern Florida. Paolo’s main goal was not to create the next professional athlete, but instead to motivate them psychologically and set high, but attainable goals, to push their limits and be ever-improving on and off the playing field. This motivation allowed him and PTST to advise and place over 550 young athletes in college sports’ programs and providing the necessary mentorship that was missing from Palos life and playing days growing up.

From Paolo’s experience and in his family, getting a degree was seen as the only way to get ahead in life and get a good job. Without that piece of paper your options in life are extremely limited. That was the main philosophy for that time.

Continuing up in the world, Paolo owned a restaurant/nightclub in Long Island, NY and a PTST Sports Café in South Florida, all while developing a Grant writing software program.

Then, Paolo was diagnosed with Post TBI/ CTE, and all the symptoms followed suit. Due to the memory loss, the seizures, the migraines, and the chronic physical and emotional pain, Paolo saw himself unable to handle the consequences of sports’ abuse on his brain and body. After watching his grandfather pass away and deteriorate from Alzheimer’s, Paolo was traumatized and afraid of what the future held for him. Even though the diseases and symptoms are different in most cases the ending is the same. The brain dies before the body.

After meeting Dr. Russell Bourne through Sanette, the owner of Jupiter Drugs., and even discussing the legalities of euthanasia, Paolo decided to instead use his diagnosis as a research project/ case study. Working with Dr. Bourne, Paolo was introduced to 3 new coping strategies: one, The 3-day rule. A suicide prevention tool, two, Checks and Balance, and three, Finding A Purpose. Giving back to others without expecting anything in return. (If you are interested in reading more about Paolo’s coping strategies he develops and learns every day to mask his symptoms, visit CPMHA.com) Paolo discovered a way to help himself feel better through these coping strategies. They helped him to deal with his mental health by helping others with their various symptoms by sharing his story being completely transparent and honest. This is how concussions, pain, and mental health awareness non-for profit was born.

Now, with the organization of CPMHA, Paolo strives to aid other’s mental health issues and diseases by putting a program in place where he can mentor college students in an internship opportunity. This program will give students a huge advantage and could potentially land them a job with their major. The competition will give students real-life experience that could ultimately yield a higher return than a degree, all while still getting their degree. Also helping patients find relief from post TBI and the symptoms related to the epidemic crisis of mental illness/health. That is the legacy Palo would love to leave behind as his final chapter in life.

If you want to learn more about Paolo’s story, e-mail info@cpmha.com for his life memoirs, Close But No Cigar.

What the Program Is

This program will resemble an independent business in a real-world environment designed for students to gain hands-on experience in their field.  They will also learn how to work with other areas of expertise. In an economy of educated people, individuals are seeking learning experiences more than ever, and some young adults choose to attend a trade school rather than a university. The goal of this program is to create a real-world environment situation for students to gain experience in addition to their university studies.

  • Cutting edge program utilizing university resources, such as research materials, mentors, professors, and department chairs
  • Students will be researching a selected area from one of CPMHA’s programs for the semester
  • Students apply themselves to get a return on their investment of time
  • Students will be working in teams comprised of different majors to complete their project
  • Film/Media Studies majors will be tasked with taking a video of the research and the program. They are encouraged to put a creative spin on the project for marketing as well as entertainment purposes. At the culmination of the program, a film festival will be hosted, where awards and scholarships will be rewarded.

How it Works and How Long it Lasts

  • Fall/spring semester program
  • Year collaboration (long-term goal)

Selection Process

Each university will utilize their own selection process.  We are aware that universities differ in what majors they offer so we will be working closely with each university to ensure an even playing field in this competition.

Majors of Interest and Position Availability

Candidates obtain executive assistant training through a variety of means. Some high school or vocational courses provide the skills necessary for an entry-level position. Alternately, upper-level positions, such as those with a CEO or a vice president, may require at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field relevant to the executive’s business or organization.

Majors of Interest

  • Public Health
  • Business Administration
  • Public Administration
  • Social Work
  • Journalism
  • Nutrition
  • Integrative Medicine/ Health Science
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Sports Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Film/Media Studies
    • The film/media studies team will be tasked with documenting the research and the entire competition at the respective university

Position Availability

Program Coordinator

  • Bachelor’s degree in public health, business administration, public administration, social work, or a related field required.
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Great managerial skills
  • Ability to evaluate the business environment in which a company operates

Executive Assistant

  • Skills in business writing
  • Knowledge of human relations
  • Superior interpersonal communications

Event Planner

  • Coordination of meetings, conferences, and parties
  • Bachelor’s degree required


  • Documentation of the program
  • Completion of medical research and papers on program


  • Formulation of natural, holistic meal plans to treat symptoms.

Film/Media Studies

  • Film/Media Studies majors will be tasked with documenting the research and the program. At the culmination of the program, the films will all be shown.

Universities’ Benefits

School credit and experience as well as exposure for the University.

Future scholarship for winning University

Once the program is on a national scale, the winners from the previous year will travel to the winning team of the current year to present the awards and scholarship

Students’ Benefits

Students will be essentially combining a university education with real-world experience to get a leg-up on their class, and enter the workforce with a more compelling resume, and insurmountable experience.

Students in the film/media studies role will have a project to showcase

Winning teams will be hired by CPMHA if they don’t choose to accept another offer.

One year from now, if they have committed to this program, they will be guaranteed an industry-level salary and package