WILLIAMSON – Mingo County Schools and the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Tuesday, Jan. 2 at the Coal House to launch the Education and Career Resource Speakers Bureau.
The MOU allows Mingo County Schools to collaborate with local business leaders and the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce to “work in a joint partnership to create and develop a new resource for Mingo County Schools… Upon request of principals and teachers, these TVCC members will volunteer to speak at the schools on topics such as attendance, the value of education, good workplace habits, career opportunities and educational needs in the workplace.”
Jeff Reynolds, with Mingo County Schools, welcomed attendees to the event stating, “This is a very good day not only for the chamber but for Mingo County Schools best of all for our students.”
Reynolds recognized those in attendance at the event stating, “From the school system, we have three of our principals here with us: Dr. Johnny Branch from Tug Valley High School, Leah Wireman from the soon to be Burch PK-8 School and Don Spence Principal of Dingess Elementary.” Reynolds continued recognizing representatives from the TVCC, local business leaders and representatives from Mingo County Schools.
The first person to speak was Rita Dempsey, a representative from the Department of Student Services for Mingo County Schools. “We are pleased to be here today to announce this partnership between Mingo County Schools Department of Students Services and the TVCC. Through this partnership, members of the chamber of commerce have established a volunteer Education and Career Resource Speakers Bureau. Our students in Mingo County will have the opportunity to learn directly from business professionals who have significant knowledge and experience with our local job market and our workforce. Using experience to build our future, Mingo County Schools is pleased to offer our students this unique opportunity to learn about real workplace experiences directly from our local business men and women,” Dempsey said.
Natalie Taylor, Executive Director for the TVCC was the next to speak. “I would like to thank everyone that has volunteered so far to be a speaker and if you know anyone else that could fill this position, please let me know,” Taylor stated.
Dave Farley, President of the Board of Education spoke next saying, “I know it will be a valuable asset to our schools…It will give students a clear vision of what they can do…”
The next to speak was Leigh Ann Ray, President of the TVCC. “On behalf of the chamber, I would like to thank everybody that has participated in this. The chamber is always looking for new ways to be involved in the community and help our students grow and become an integral part of the community. We want to encourage people to stay here. I hope personally that this speakers bureau will light something within in our students and let them know how important it is to stay and be part of our community after they have left school… “
Dempsey spoke up stating, “I can tell you that our principals are very excited about the speakers bureau.”
Principals and business leaders were given the opportunity to speak next. Dr. Branch from Tug Valley High School stated, “This will be a valuable resource for career and technical classes to expose our students to career choices and to business and economic issues in our region. We plan to make use of it.”
Leah Wireman Principal at Burch Middle stated, “I am glad we have this resource available for our students. This also plays into college and career readiness… This will be very valuable to have great role models in the building.”
Don Spence, Principal at Dingess Elementary stated, “At the grade school level we are just beginning with our career exploration programs and to have people in our building to be role models and for our kids to recognize those people when they are out and about would be a great asset to our kids. Our kids are kind of secluded.”
Business leaders also spoke concerning the opportunities this bureau will bring to local schools.
Currently, nine local business leaders have signed up to speak on behalf of the Education and Career Resource Speakers Bureau. These participants include: Diann Hannah from the Mingo County Commission, Sheryle Sullivan Mall Manager at the Southside Mall, Anne Lambright Local Attorney, Adam Warren Businessman, H. Truman Chafin Local Attorney, Tish Chafin Local Attorney, Debbie White from Workforce West Virginia, Denise Moore Vice Present and Marker Leader IV at BB and T and Tim Hatfield CEO at ARH Hospital.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)