UVCC students put their skills to work


By Sam Wildow - [email protected]



PIQUA — This coming school year, SkillsUSA students at the Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) will be put to work.

The SkillsUSA student organization at UVCC, which partners students, teachers and industry, recently received a grant worth $25,000 from Lowe’s in order to fix up the Fusion church in Piqua.

“The students are enjoying the ability to get out and help somebody else with the trade they’re in, and they’re very excited to be partnering with Lowe’s, too,” Electrical Trades Instructor Jeffrey Bertke of UVCC said.

The students will be doing painting, building finish work like dry wall, telecommunications and electrical work, and more. The end goal of improving the space at Fusion will be to provide a space in the community where kids can go to have free access to wireless internet in a safe, supervised environment.

This past school year, SkillsUSA students worked on the electrical system at Fusion, giving them the opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience what it is like to run into issues on the job.

“We’ve done some work over there with their electrical. They enjoyed it. They got to get out into the work real-world environment,” Bertke said. “They learned a lot … got some things thrown at them at they weren’t used to dealing with.”

“It’s exciting,” Fusion Pastor Karen Jamison said. “It’s good to be getting to the point to see the building being used.”

There will be a kick-off event for the grant held on Aug. 2, at Fusion from 5-6 p.m. Fusion is located at 421 Broadway St. in Piqua. Parking will be available at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 528 Broadway St. in Piqua.The event will feature speakers from Lowes and other dignitaries as well as tours of the building.

The actual work is expected to begin when school starts.

“End of August, when the school year starts, we’re going to dive into it,” Bertke said.

By Sam Wildow

[email protected]

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

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