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Real Sustainability: Investments are Critical to Student and Community Success

Mar 12, 2019


Almost 40 dental hygiene students and expanded duty dental assisting students volunteered their time to give children brighter, healthier smiles.

Investments in Midlands Technical College (MTC) mean putting dollars to work for the students, the workforce, and the community. Just ask Jim Braun, the president and CEO of AVANTech Inc., a comprehensive industrial water treatment solutions provider based in the Midlands.

“Investing in MTC is contributing to the college’s sustainability as well as ours. We provide a $10,000-per-year scholarship for chemical technology to help students further their education in the field of chemical engineering, since this work is vital to our overall success. We hire water treatment technicians, and we also hire welders. MTC provides the training in both of those critical areas,” said Braun.

Students of MTC’s chemical engineering class along with their instructor toured the manufacturing facilities of AVANTech, Inc. Three of the students who toured are recipients of AVANTech scholarships. Pictured left to right, Steven Campbell, Mr. Jim Braun, James Gasque, and John Rutledge.

Braun firmly believes in the impact of MTC. He and his wife also have personally invested in the Bridge the Gap Scholarship Fund, which helps students pay for the gap between the cost of attending college and their financial aid.

“I’m a big believer that education is there to help create opportunity,” said Braun. “This investment is an opportunity for us to provide financial support for folks to help them keep moving forward and not lose the momentum of getting an education.”

Investments in MTC make it possible for students to enroll and succeed in programs, identify their passions, and give back to the community. That’s what MTC dental hygiene student Katherine Elizabeth (Beth) Sanders experienced as she recently participated in the fifth-annual MTC Dental Clinic Smiles from the Heart event. During the community service event, almost 40 dental hygiene students and expanded duty dental assisting students volunteered their time to give children brighter, healthier smiles.

Dental assistants examining child patient

“My favorite part of this event was being able to see how excited some of the kids were to have their teeth cleaned and to see how grateful the parents were that we were offering this service,” said Sanders. “It was validation that Smiles from the Heart was doing exactly what it was created to do – it's making a difference. With this outreach, we impact the lives of not only the children we treat each year, but their families as well.”

From helping provide access to college, supporting programs that give back to the community, and providing a trained workforce to fill critical jobs in the Midlands, investing in MTC not only helps the sustainability of the college – but it helps the sustainability of the community. 

“It makes great economic sense for those of us who work and live in the Midlands to ensure that our community is strong,” said Nancy McKinney, CEO of the Midlands Technical College Foundation. “Education is a key component of that strength. Employers need workers with skills and abilities that not only help area companies be successful, but also help our citizens earn a good living and contribute to the economic vitality of our region.”

“For those who are thinking about investing in MTC, I’d say ‘Do it.’” said Braun. “MTC offers the opportunity to folks at a critical stage in their life. Financial support provides a path for education. To me, that is the greatest gift to give to someone.”