Schools and Business Community Collaborate in Fairmont
For the last few years, fewer than a dozen high school seniors from Martin County applied to receive two $4,200 scholarships for agriculture-related degrees. Businesses who sponsor the program that is facilitated by the Agri-business Committee of Fairmont Area Chamber were frustrated by such little response. Spreading the word by contacting administrators, counselors and teachers year after year brought little response.
The beginnings of a publication to be inserted into school event programs started shaping up last spring. “Joe Brown, Superintendent of Fairmont Schools and I committed to work together to create an easy-to-read insert with messages directed to parents for this school year”, said Fairmont Chamber President Margaret Dillard. “More conversation led to an idea that we weren’t reaching the right people. It is parents who are challenged by the increasing financial demands of secondary education for their children. Parents may not attend another demand on their time, so the idea of meetings was discarded, but they readily turn out to watch school events.”
So a publication encouraging youth to consider local careers and educational options was founded. The inaugural edition was circulated at football, soccer and volleyball games beginning in September. Information about the Martin County Internship Program, scholarships, job openings, college tuition rates and more were featured. “The chief concern of local businesses is a lack of qualified workforce so they enthusiastically support this effort,” said Dillard. “It’s a work in progress that will be steered by feedback from parents and business people.”