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Desloge Chamber hears about UniTec

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Jeff Cauley speaks to the Desloge Chamber

Jeff Cauley, the director of the UniTec Career Center, speaks to the Desloge Chamber of Commerce earlier this month about the UniTec Foundation. The foundation has raised $130,000 for the addition that is planned. 

The Desloge Chamber of Commerce met earlier this month and heard about the UniTec Career Center and Mineral Area Council on the Arts.

Jeff Cauley, the director of UniTec Career Center. Cauley spoke about the career and technical education center and its upcoming annex expansion.

“Age and entropy, we all know what age is,” started Cauley. “Entropy says that once something is created, it begins to be destroyed.”

Cauley used a car as an example, explaining that once a car is built it starts to rust.

The UniTec building, according to Cauley, was built in 1971, and is currently going through entropy. Cauley compared the building to a house, saying that there’s always something that needs to be done to a house, and UniTec is just like that.

UniTec recently started a foundation in hopes to raise $118,300 to add a vocational technical building focusing on Construction Technology. Not only did the foundation raise the $118,300, the total amount of money raised through the foundation totaled about $130,000, according to Cauley.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has also agreed to offer $100,000 to commit to the project based on matching funds. Every dollar that the foundation gets will be matched by the state, which, according to Cauley, is a great way to raise money and build the program up.

When looking at jobs, residents are having to make a decision to either work closer to home, or find a job that can financially support the drive to St. Louis or Cape Girardeau. UniTec is trying to build relationships with companies around the area, he said. They held an Industry Education Partnership back in March with a large turnout.

“You’ve had difficulties finding people, and we got to work hard and do a better job of training these young adults, and you men and women working for the workforce,” said Cauley. “And it’s much easier to do with nice facilities and nice equipment.”

Cauley ended his informational speech about UniTec by thanking the chamber for giving the opportunity to have the group learn about the UniTec Foundation, and what the center is doing.

“My friend Brian McNamara says if you ask people for help, they’ll give you money, asking for money they’ll give you all kinds of ideas and help,” explained Cauley. “So we’ll take either one, we’ll take your assistance, health, money, whatever we can get; but I promise you one thing that every dollar we get, we will spend wisely.”

Scottye Adkins, executive director of Mineral Area Council on the Arts (MACOA) took the podium next, explaining what they do. Originally, the council was founded in the 1980s as an advisory committee to bring in events to the region, as well as the campus. In 1990, the council was granted a 501 (C3) nonprofit organization status.

The council, Adkins said, coordinates events like concerts that provide entertainment to children, art exhibits, and guest speakers and storytellers. Some events are annual, including the K-12 Student Art Show, the Art Blooms Banner Contest, the Creative Writing Contest and Workshop, and the new Brave is Beautiful Photo Exhibit.

Most events that are put on are free but some have an admission fee. While the council works hard to be frugal, there are still expenses that need to be paid, and Adkins wanted to let the group know that fundraising is going to be happening.

During the months of July and August, the council will be mailing out fundraising slips in hopes of raising money for the upcoming season. Businesses, as well as individuals in the community, should keep an eye out for the slips, Adkins said.

One big thing that the council does every year is the Art Blooms Banner contest, in which art from students is put on banners and shown around the area. With nine school districts and 10 towns, there are a total of 327 banners that are hanging up around the area.

The next monthly chamber meeting is set for July 5 at noon at the Lincoln Street Event Center.

Danielle Thurman is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at dthurman@dailyjournalonline.com or 573-518-3616.

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