A group of Natchitoches community members went on a tour and learned more about Southern University’s Mobile Technology Education Center on May 9. Cloyd Benjamin, Ralph Wilson and Vicor Pinkney were brainstorming about ways they could help offer more advancement opportunities to people in their community. They reached out to Southern University to bring the Mobile Technology Education Center to Natchitoches.
More community members came out to the Legacy Cafe to tour the Center and learn about how it can benefit the people of Natchitoches Parish. The goal is to spread the word about the Center and the programs it offers.
The unit offers certification is four programs:
Sustainable Urban Agriculture
Small Business Development
Master Small Ruminant
Food & Farm Safety
The best part is there’s no charge to anyone to come and participate in the programs, according to William Augustine, project coordinator for the Mobile Technology Education Center. “The Center gives us the opportunity to bring additional education opportunities to various neighborhoods in the state, and in Natchitoches Parish,” he said.
The Center is equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen and a lab. Everything is handicap accessible with an elevator lift for wheelchair access. The Center also brings internet access to the more remote areas.
Students participate in a program in a series of five sessions for two hours, which are usually scheduled in the afternoons from 6-8 pm. The students can decide the days that are best for them, which can include weekends. Along with Augustine, Dr. Marlin Ford, urban Ag specialist; Eual Hall; and Dr. Fatemeh Malekian teach students skills that will help them enter fields in the food industry, horticulture, sustainable gardens, and many other businesses.
“We see this as a community effort,” said Benjamin. “We need to empower people through education so they can help themselves.”