LEWISBURG — High Rocks Educational Corporation will celebrate the grand opening of The Hub Café and Tech Express at the Lee Street Complex with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 22.

Last winter The Hub relocated from its space in Montwell Commons to Building C, behind Lee Street Studios (the former Lewisburg High School). Gaining additional square footage with the move, High Rocks was able to expand The Hub’s former smoothie bar into a fully functioning café and to provide a suitable home for a new Tech Express computer repair and tech support program.

Both Tech Express and The Hub Café are youth social enterprise programs which give high school and college-aged people the opportunity to earn a wage while learning the various aspects of starting and running a business.

“It’s such a wonderful fit for us,” High Rocks development and marketing manager Sarah Mansheim told The Register-Herald.

She explained that once schools resume later this month, students will be afforded hands-on experience in operating the café, which is open to the public Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stephanie Jones brings some 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry to her post as café manager.

“Our goal is to give them tools so that when they graduate from high school they will know how to create a budget, market a business, set up and maintain a schedule, cook and clean,” Mansheim said.

Sean Brain, a 30-year employee of IBM, serves as the Tech Express mentor, currently overseeing three apprentice technicians who have completed the first round of training.

“We’re still ramping up the business,” Brain said. “I want to see it grow organically and to get (the apprentices’) level of expertise up.”

He added, “This sort of work can lead to a very lucrative career.”

Under Brain’s supervision, Tech Express technicians can fix desktop and laptop computers, resolving hardware, software and networking problems.

Mansheim emphasized that when people from the community eat at The Hub Café or use the services of Tech Express, they are “giving back” to High Rocks.

“We’re here to educate, empower and inspire young people in West Virginia,” she said. “We want to help the next generation of West Virginians.”

Now in its 24th year, High Rocks offers after-school programming, academic support, summer camps and year-round community action programs. For more information about High Rocks, visit www.highrocks.org.

To find out more about Tech Express services and pricing, visit techexpress.highrocks.org. To set up an appointment or ask a question, call 304-900-0093 or email techexpress@highrocks.org.

To contact someone at The Hub, call 304-647-4994. For more information about The Hub, its programs and to view a menu for The Hub Café, visit www.hubcafe.org.

— Email: talvey@register-herald.com

React to this story: