Agreement puts power skills and tools into students’ hands

Though the gift-giving season is a few weeks away, Meridian Community College students in several careers and technical programs got an early present.

DEWALT, the world’s leading manufacturing and marketer of power tools and equipment designed specifically for the professional contractor and tradesman, signed an agreement providing tools for the College’s Industrial Technology Division students.

The donation is valued at an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

The announcement was made at a press conference at the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center on Tuesday.

Specifically, the donations for the hand and power tools will help students in the Construction Trades, Welding and Cutting, Industrial Maintenance and Electrical Technology students learn their trades.

The new hand and power tools will help MCC students learn on industry-standard equipment so they are prepared for the workforce, and the new tools will be put to use immediately to train MCC students.

“We’ve got all the tools we’ll ever use,” said Jim Miles, Electrical Technology Program Instructor, about the agreement.  “This will help the students,” he added. “When they see the new DEWALT (on the job site), they’ll be ahead of the competition.”

Paul Kennedy, DEWALT Southeast Regional Sales manager, agreed, noting a donation such as one given to MCC is a long-term investment. In communicating with their contractors, Kennedy said one of their responsibilities is seeking ways to make the contractors’ work more efficient.

“One of the biggest hiccups contractors have is the shortage of skilled labor so we like to partner with institutions like Meridian Community College and offer up some innovation and train the future generations,” he said.

MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner thanked DEWALT officials for their partnership and the opportunity to build a skilled workforce. “I could not be more proud than to be standing here talking about a company who has made a decision to invest in our students, to invest in our community and to invest in our future,” he said.

MCC students are excited to use the new equipment. “This is awesome. We’ll use all of these tools,” said Tatyana Dobbins, 24, and a student in the Welding and Cutting Technology Program. “These are more advanced tools,” said Brandon McMullan, 20, of Meridian and a student in the Industrial Maintenance Program.