ARC checks on success of investments

From staff and press reports

Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl visited
Winston County March 28 to find out about some of the successes of
programs partially funded by the ARC.

Louisville High School was the first stop in Winston County. The
Louisville Municipal School District, Winston County Economic
Development District, East Central Community College, the Winston
County Journal and local government officials united to develop the
“Getcha Head in the Game” initiative to encourage students to stay
in
school and enroll in postsecondary institutions following graduation.

The ARC provided $10,000 in funding starting in 2009 to help the
partnership develop student plans for graduation and college attendance.

Through the program students began participating in intensive
tutoring, ACT-preparation
workshops and college visits. Art students created post secondary
posters to hang in the schools’ hallways and use as visual
encouragement for college attendance.

In 2009, only 44 percent of Louisville High School graduates
continued their education at the next level, but just two years
later, 84 percent went on to postsecondary education or training
explained Dr. Nola Bryant of LMSD to Gohl and others in attendance.

Gohl was also able to talk directly to several college bound students
on what they gained from the program.

Matthew Matzek, who noted that he had already planned to attend
college but the college visits did let him see first hand the size
and diversity of those on a college campus.

Another student noted that the college visits helped motivate her to
go to college and to do more.

Dr. Bryant thanked the ARC representatives for investing in the
students of Winston County.
“By investing in a student and you are investing in the next doctor,
lawyer nurse. It instills in them that they can accomplish this,”
said Bryant.

Louisville Mayor Will Hill also thanked the ARC for their investment
in the community.

The ARC officials also visited the Winston-Louisville Career and
Technical Center where the ARC partnered with the LMSD, Winston
County Development Partnership, ECCC and Taylor Machine Works to add
8 new state of the art welding machines to the welding and metal
fabrication program at the WLCTC. The
ARC provided an $85,000 grant for the equipment with matches coming
from Taylor Machine Works, Louisville Municipal School District, East
Central Community College and Winston County Economic Development
Partnership.

Welding instructor Shane McDaniel noted with the new equipment,
“This facility is one of the top in the state with better welding
equipment than some community colleges.”

McDaniel, a 7th year teacher, noted that the equipment not only helps
the
high school students at the WLCTC, it also helps adults enrolled in
the
East Central Community College night classes who learn at the
center’s classroom as well. He noted almost every individual in the
night class had gained jobs where they wanted with the training.

“They are prepared for a job when they leave here,” said McDaniel.

Dr. Bryant added, “Every person can leave this class with a degree,
and skills that
make them employable and provide real work opportunities.”

Gohl noted he was glad to see the ARC funds wisely invested in the
community.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic
development agency that represents a partnership between state,
federal and local governments. ARC provides funding for projects in
the Appalachian Region for things such as business development,
education and job training. ARC also provides funding for many
infrastructure items as well.
Also in attendance were GTPPD head Rudy Johnson, Phyllis Benson and
George Crawford of the GTPPD , LHS principal Kyle Hammond, and
Strategic planner Phil Hardwick of the Stennis Institute.