group of officials holding a ribbon before cutting

Montgomery Community College (MCC) joined with Montgomery County Schools (MCS) to cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art career and technical education building on February 25. The space features cutting-edge programs and facilities for 21st century training.

Officials say the facilities are not the only thing cutting-edge about this project. The innovative partnerships forged during the five-year process have been groundbreaking - a model of cooperative education for school systems throughout North Carolina.
In his opening remarks at the ribbon cutting, Dr. Dale Ellis, Montgomery County Schools Superintendent said, “Without the cooperation and support of our County Commissioners, Montgomery Community College and Montgomery County Schools, this project would never have happened.”
The Joseph Reese Blair Career and Technical Education (CTE) building was part of a shared vision that began in 2014 with a joint committee on education. The vision also included a central high school and an early college high school program. The goal was to provide quality education and skills training for future jobs and economic development in Montgomery County.
The vision was financed with the help of a USDA/Rural Development loan.
“This project represents a strong and ongoing partnership in this county and with USDA/Rural Development,” said Robert Hosford, the State Director of USDA/Rural Development. “This school is one of the many tools for economic development. This project directly aligns with President Trump’s infrastructure buildout for rural America,” Hosford said.
County Commissioner Jim Matheny echoed Hosford’s remarks saying, “The reward for this investment will be the growth and vitality of our county.”
In 1973, Colonel Joseph Reese Blair donated a 149-acre tract of land to the Montgomery County Board of Education. The first lot of 76.46 acres was deeded to build Montgomery Community College. Another 54 acres adjacent to the college land was deeded for a central high school.
“It was my father’s dream to see a central high school and the college to be built near each other to provide opportunities for our students to receive higher education,” said MCC Board Chairman Claudia (Blair) Bulthuis. “The new shared CTE building would have exceeded even his expectations,” she said.
Dr. Chad Bledsoe had just assumed his position as President of MCC when the joint education committee discussions began. In 2017, Montgomery County Early College High School opened its doors on MCC’s campus. Two years later the CTE building was completed.
“When I joined the college five years ago, this project was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. We were not sure how it would get built, or even if it could happen. With a lot of support from the County, local citizens, and a great partnership between MCC and MCS, that dream has come true. We have created world-class education in Montgomery County,” Bledsoe said.
The new CTE building features some standard-setting technology and equipment with a robotics lab and 3D printers, an industrial/PLC lab, a 20-station welding lab with a CNC plasma cutter and more.
Both high school and college programs are now being taught in the shared facility. High school programs include Firefighting Technology, Emergency Medical Technician, Nursing, Engineering, and Woodworking. College programs include: Engineering; Industrial Systems Technology; Electrical Systems Technology; Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology; Automotive Systems Technology; Facility Maintenance Technology; Sustainable Agriculture; Culinary Arts; Welding Technology; Nurse Aide and Phlebotomy. Two additional programs scheduled to be added are Computer Integrated Machining and Mechatronics Engineering Technology.

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