LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Months after General Motors shuttered its Lordstown plant the school district is feeling the impact.
“Since the plant was unallocated we’ve had a lot of families that were relocated. One spouse had to move, the other spouse had to stay here,” said superintendent Terry Armstrong.
He continued, “Because of the unallocated status of the plant we started a backpack program here at the elementary school, send some food home over the weekends with any student that’s in need.”
In addition to the backpack program the district opened a STEM Center inside the elementary school with a focus on preparing students for jobs that do not rely so heavily on manufacturing.
“I’m looking to program video games and right now I am trying to find a website that I can code on,” said 10-year-old Isaac Bubb.
Armstrong says high school science teacher, Holly DeBernardo who teaches the college credit classes at the school will also teach at the center.
“We’re trying to get students at an early age interested in science and engineering technology to get them ready for all of the jobs of the future,” said DeBernardo.
Elementary school principal Rich Zigarovich says the center is nearly complete thanks to a $18,000 donation from the Lordstown Energy Center.
“We wanted to do better for our kids,” said Zigarovich. “Science can be fun. Technology is fun. And I want boys and girls both to know the sky is the limit for them.”
While many are hoping GM will make an announcement soon about the future of the plant school leaders say they will not wait to make sure the next generation is ready to take on jobs that may come their way.
“We want to prepare them for the future,” said Armstrong. “If it’s a new car that comes to GM or a new company that comes in to make electric cars we want to prepare them.”