CATS program receives Carolina Farm Credit grant
Vocational and Transitional students look on as their program receives a $5,000 Carolina Farm Credit grant. Pictured (from left) are CFC regional manager Craig Pugh, loan officer Jennifer Minton, instructor Lee Cope, CATS Principal Larry Rogers and loan officer Brent Warren.
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Carolina Farm Credit (CFC) awarded a $5,000 grant to fund a greenhouse project in the Occupational Course of Study program at the Iredell-Statesville Schools Career Academy and Technical School (CATS) on Thursday morning.
Craig Pugh, CFC regional manager, and loan officers Jennifer Minton loan officer and Brent Warren presented the check to Instructor Lee Cope and Principal Larry Rogers.
“We look for projects that will help the community and that pertain to our mission, which is to help rural America and agriculture. This greenhouse project helps fulfill that mission,” said Warren.
CFC gives out around $100,000 from the regional corporate mission fund, which covers the western part of the state to the Raleigh area.
Cope said the greenhouse will become an important part of the programs Vocational and Transitional lab.
“We want then to learn some work skills that are transitional into their adult life," te instructor explained. "One of the focuses that we have is teaching students to maintain employment, so this will help us work on a lot of soft skills.”
“We think that they can take some pride and ownership in growing some vegetables and plants for sale. We also already have a lunch business, so we can grow some of the herbs that we use in our lunch program as well,” added Cope.
Assembly of the greenhouse will begin soon, with the greenhouse hopefully in operation by February for use by the 80 students that the program serves.
“This is just wonderful, especially for these students,” said Rogers. “It’s an opportunity to gain some experience and possible job opportunities with nurseries or landscape businesses. This is like an appetizer that will get them ready for the full course.”
“We like for our students to learn skills that can transfer into jobs, so this is a win-win for everybody,” said Cope.
Cope plans to start growing herbs first, later adding in vegetables and possibly flowers in the spring. “We are also talking about adding some raised beds to expand the gardening area once spring comes.”
“The kids are very excited. We’ve got a lot going on here for students,” added Rogers.