The Catawba Valley Community College Alexander Campus officially opened its Industrial Systems/Mechatronics Lab recently and this was marked by a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
The Golden LEAF (Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation) funded a grant in the amount of $460,000 to equip the facility. The new Mechatronics Lab joins the Welding program and the Alexander Furniture Academy among the industry trainings offered at the Taylorsville campus.
“The partnerships that made this happen are absolutely crucial to what this college does,” said Brett Fansler, CVCC Alexander Center Director. “We can’t do it on state funding alone. We can’t do all these things without partnerships like the Golden LEAF Foundation, like the CVCC Foundation, the County Commissioners, and industry.”
Fansler praised CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, the college administrators, and local industry for their unwavering support of the Taylorsville programs.
“This is a great day. This is something we started envisioning with the County Commissioners many years ago and have talked about the commitments we needed to make, and those commitments have come to reality,” said Dr. Hinshaw. “You take a vision and see it move to reality, as Brett said, with all the partnerships, [Past] Chairman [Randy] Isenhower with the Golden LEAF Foundation, this wouldn’t have happened without you, and with our business partners…Alexander County Schools…who believe in what we do here.”
“Our ultimate goal with this center is to be a workforce innovation area that we can continue to build upon, continue to grow, and really set Alexander County up to do economic development, enhance its community and citizenry, but most of all, provide opportunities for its young people. The young people of the future — without them, we don’t have businesses and industries and we don’t have workers. We’ve got to work together to encourage our young people to look at these opportunities. The wages they can make in these fields are amazing. We want them to stay here in this region, above all else,” Hinshaw said.
Fansler said the first class of students using the new Mechatronics Lab was also on hand that evening.
Joining Hinshaw in the ribbon cutting were Golden LEAF Senior Vice President/General Counsel Ted Lord and Golden LEAF board member and Past Chairman Randy Isenhower.
Lord said Golden LEAF has a main focus on workforce development, including projects like the CVCC lab, which “create a clear pathway from educational opportunities to employment…We’ve got clear evidence for the demand in the county for skills that are going to be taught in the center and of commitment the community college feels toward the students.”