Fairmont, W.Va. – On Saturday, Pierpont Community & Technical College hosted community leaders for breakfast and a thoughtful discussion about collaboration and shaping the future of North Central West Virginia.

Led by Pierpont President Dr. Milan Hayward, the community breakfast was a way to bring representatives from local churches, the WV Black Heritage Festival, and the local NAACP chapter onto Pierpont’s campus to build relationships for a better tomorrow.

“We are a community college, and as such, we are a staple and leader within this community,” said Hayward. “The idea for this event is to meet with community leaders and discuss how Pierpont can collaborate with them for the betterment of North Central West Virginia.”

During the initial remarks, Dr. Hayward touched on creating new bonds and building relationships with those in attendance.

“Thank you for joining us for the first of many ongoing community conversations,” said Hayward. “We are happy to take this opportunity to establish new relationships and, improve upon existing relationships and get to know one another even better.”

Following the brief introduction, Dr. Hayward prompted the attendees to discuss various topics, including growth opportunities for Pierpont and how they can develop more ways to brighten the community’s future.

One suggestion included reaching the smaller communities that make up North Central West Virginia.

“We’ve got to remember that if we are going to supply the workforce, we’ve got to get off the interstate and think about those kids [living in small towns],” said James Griffin, chair of the WV Black Heritage Festival. “Somehow, we have got to get out into those communities and reach them.”

Also discussed was the importance of keeping students within the community by providing them with the best educational opportunities.

“Two of our young people attend Pierpont,” said Phyllis Agnew, senior Pastor at Temple of Christ. “I’m glad that [Pierpont] was an option and that they felt open enough to know it was an option instead of saying, ‘I just want to leave.’ [Pierpont] gave them the opportunity they were looking for.”

This community breakfast is the first of many upcoming events that Pierpont plans to strengthen the community. On Monday, Pierpont is holding a Day of Service to honor the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and give back to the community through service projects.

For more information about Pierpont Community & Technical College, visit pierpont.edu.