Representatives from J.M. Huber Corporation (Huber) and Huber Engineered Woods (HEW) hosted a check ceremony at Blue Truck Coffee in Macon, Mississippi, to commemorate a $150,000 donation from Huber Helps, Huber’s global community engagement and philanthropy program. More than 1,200 students near the future location of the new HEW mill site in Mississippi will get to participate in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programming as a result of this investment.   

“This incredibly generous donation will go a long way to bolster our schools and students in Noxubee and Kemper counties,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I’m thankful that we have incredible partners like Huber who not only bring fantastic jobs and great business to our state, but who also generously invest in and support their local communities.”

Funding of the PLTW grants will send 20 local teachers to training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in June and July. STEM programming for Noxubee and Kemper County school districts—which surround HEW’s Shuqualak Mill—can then be implemented in the 2024–2025 school year that starts in August.   

“We’re thrilled to be working with Kemper and Noxubee County educators and leaders to invest in the long-term success of the community through Huber Helps in partnership with Project Lead the Way,” said Lea Volpe, VP of Communications & Community Relations at Huber. “As a multi-generational family-owned company, we take immense pride in supporting the communities where we operate.”  

Huber’s plans to invest in STEM education in the community were initially announced at the Shuqualak Mill Groundbreaking Ceremony on October 23, 2023, where community members and Huber leadership celebrated HEW’s sixth Oriented Strand Board (OSB) plant—set to open in 2026 and employ 150 people. Since the new mill will harness cutting-edge technology, the company is committed to investing in STEM education. This will equip young people with the skills needed for future employment and invest in community growth and prosperity.  

Elden Padgett, Plant Manager of the Huber Engineered Woods Shuqualak Mill said, “Huber Engineered Woods is investing in the community, and this ceremony today is just the beginning of our journey. We’re going to continue to engage in workforce development, not just for our needs, but for the community’s needs.” 

The opportunity is made possible through PLTW, a nationwide nonprofit organization that equips PreK-12 students in thousands of schools across the U.S. with teacher-empowered curriculum for a STEM-driven world.  Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skillssuch as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and communication. PLTW provides career exposure and exploration opportunities to help students learn practices and tools used by industry professionals. 

“We know that when students have early access to STEM, they are more likely to consider careers in STEM-related fields, and that’s exactly what is taking place today in Mississippi,” said Kim Blair, VP of Advancement, Project Lead The Way. “By having an early introduction to STEM, Project Lead The Way and Huber are preparing Mississippi students with the knowledge and skills they need for the workforce of the future.”