Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 24, 2014

Mercer County Technical Education Center receives grant

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — The Mercer County Technical Education Center has received another grant — a SkillsUSA/Lowe’s Schools in Need award for $25,000 — that will allow the school to build a store.

MCTEC Guidance Counselor Jarry Brown recently received official notification of the award and anticipates receipt of a check for the full amount.

The school’s program, coupled with their active participation in SkillsUSA competition, earned eligibility to apply for the funding. Brown said only 21 schools nationwide were selected for grant awards.

The money will underwrite “an exciting addition to the campus,” MCTEC Director Linda Cox said.  Under the supervision of instructor Michael Adams, building construction students will soon erect a retail store adjacent to the Princeton Senior High School greenhouse.

Cox said the store, once completed, will be staffed by SkillsUSA students, and will sell items grown and created in the various career/technical education classes at the school including agribusiness, cosmetology, welding, machine technology, graphic design, computer technology and others.

 “West Virginia is comprised of 96 percent small businesses,” Cox said. “Our goal through this project is to grow additional entrepreneurs in the region.”

A number of MCTEC staff collaborated to develop the project.

“Drawing from the ideas of their colleagues and students, teachers Ann Wells, John Lockhart, and Stephanie Bailey were the primary grant writers,” Cox stated.

In the spring, the school plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony jointly with Lowe’s representatives and community leaders.   

 In a separate but related project, MCTEC will use other funds to build a greenhouse adjacent to the one operated by Princeton Senior High School, said county information specialist Kellan Sarles. The new greenhouse will be a laboratory setting for the school’s new agribusiness program taught by John Lockhart. Items grown in both greenhouses will be offered in the new retail location.