UVCC SkillsUSA receives $25k grant

Staff report

PIQUA — Lowe’s, the largest corporate donor in SkillsUSA history, has renewed its partnership with a $1.5 million commitment to the organization, bringing Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation’s total contributions to SkillsUSA to nearly $14 million since 2006.

Upper Valley Career Center will receive $25,000, which will allow students to rehabilitate an old church building in Piqua to create a supervised center for community Wi-Fi access and tutoring.

Jeff Bertke and Sara Plozay are the SkillsUSA advisors at Upper Valley who submitted the grant application. Bertke is also the Electrical Trades instructor who will schedule and oversee the work.

“This project will be completed through a partnership of different programs working together,” Bertke said. “We plan to install new light fixtures, repair walls, paint, and assemble furnishings — all by the end of October.”

Bertke went on to say that community projects like this align with SkillsUSA goals. “When students are involved in their community to this extent, it helps them grow and develop sense of pride in their work and ultimately the community,” he said.

The Upper Valley Career Center grant is one of 15 nationwide and is the highest dollar amount awarded.

Plozay, a Cosmetology instructor, said, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our students the means to address such an critical need in their community.”

She pointed out that the grant will impact the student and their peers in and around Piqua.

“Lowe’s and SkillsUSA are going to impact lives for years to come through this grant. We are so very grateful and excited.”

Staff report