Forsyth Tech is extremely grateful for a $1.5 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. The college will use the money to help create a Skilled Trades Building planned for its Stokes County Center in the Meadows community near Walnut Cove. The building will provide high school students with career training opportunities in welding, plumbing, electrical systems and horticulture.
The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded Forsyth Tech the grant under its Community-Based Grantmaking Initiative, which supports projects with the potential for making long-term economic impact.
“This project has the potential to do the most good for the most people in Stokes County,” said County Manager Rick Morris. “The Skilled Trades Building will deepen the relationship between Forsyth Tech and the Stokes County Schools and expand the options available for Career Technical Education, which the Board of Commissioners and I recognize as a driver of economic development.”
The Forsyth Tech Stokes County Skilled Trades Building is scheduled to open in 2020. The college is now in the design phase of the building. In addition to Golden LEAF funds, Forsyth Tech will use $809,410 in Connect NC bonds that voters approved last year for community colleges. The skilled trades facility will complement the 20,000-square-foot classroom building on the Meadows campus that Forsyth Tech opened in 2016.
A critical element of Forsyth Tech’s successful grant application was the local support for the Skilled Trades Building from businesses, elected officials and the Stokes County School system.
“This will give high school students throughout Stokes County a chance to learn a trade while earning college credit,” said Dr. Brad Rice, superintendent of Stokes County Schools. “We can’t afford all the equipment we would need for all the CTE courses our students want to take. Golden LEAF’s grant lets us strategically focus our resources and maximize the impact of our partnership with Forsyth Tech.”
In its proposal to Golden LEAF, Forsyth Tech noted how Stokes County already had a permanent structure to support Career and College Promise students on college-transfer or Early College pathways, with high-tech learning labs to hone skills and promote job readiness. Missing was a technical skills lab with industry-standard equipment and materials to serve high school students enticed by the regional demand in skilled trades. Using just Connect NC bonds, Forsyth Tech could only build enough lab space for CTE students in welding and electrical systems. The Golden LEAF grant allows Forsyth Tech to add plumbing and horticulture—and to provide the state-of-the-art equipment and furnishings needed for all four programs.
“This project aims to promote economic vitality and financial well-being in Stokes County by raising the educational and technical skill levels of its workforce,” said Dr. Gary M. Green, president of Forsyth Tech. “The Skilled Trades Building will offer students and displaced workers the opportunity to build skills that local employers need.”