On October 2, Fred Mason, the masonry instructor at Columbus Career and College Academy, was presented with a $5,000 donation to purchase supplies from Rush Masonry Management out of Jacksonville, NC. The donation was coordinated by Ryan Shaver, who oversees workforce development for the N.C. Masonry Contractors Association.
Mason’s award-winning program was recently moved to the Southeastern Community College campus when Columbus Career and College Academy in Fair Bluff was closed. To assist with the expense of the relocation and re-equipping the class, Rush Masonry Management presented Mason with the donation.
From The News Reporter:
“I wish we could clone Mr. Mason and place him everywhere in different parts of the state,” said Shaver, who is focused on developing the next generation of masons. “In masonry, it seems like our workforce is aging a little bit.” The average age of a mason in North Carolina is 47. “We want that to be 24 or 22, and that’s our goal,” Shaver said.
“The last few that we’ve been to, he’s had students who have outperformed the other competitors,” said Kendra Blackmon, of Rush Masonry Management. “They are very impressive.”
CCCA is an early-college high school run by Columbus County Schools and located on the campus of Southeastern Community College.
SCC President Chris English explained that CCCA’s masonry classes are aligned with the community college, so graduates of the early college can easily transfer credit to SCC and further develop their masonry skills without repeating fundamental courses.
“This partnership with the early college and Columbus County Schools is vital,” English said.
Columbus County Schools Superintendent Deanne Meadows, who joined English for the check presentation, said the gift has benefits beyond the financial contribution.
“It not only helps the program continue to grow and expand, but it also shows the kids the reason they need to be involved in the program and take the classes and learn as much as they can,” Meadows said. “Because there’s an industry out there that wants them to come and work and needs them to come and work.”
Pictured from left: Vice President Travis Plymell, instructor Fred Mason, Rush Masonry Management President Kendra Plymell Blackmon and NCMCA’s Ryan Shaver.
Sourcedand photographer: The News Reporter