In 2007, Tom McJunkin, a partner at Jackson Kelly and a long-time advocate of education, encouraged the firm to take their existing partnership with Piedmont to a new level by implementing an innovative new program that would allow attorneys and staff from the firm to mentor students at Piedmont.
The idea came from a Local School Improvement Council meeting where McJunkin asked what more Jackson Kelly could do for Piedmont. The response was simple: What Piedmont needed was more caring adults spending one-on-one time with students.
McJunkin, a dedicated father of three children, knew that in order to succeed children's belief in themselves had to be regularly nurtured AND they had to have aspirations. According to him, “A kid who aspires will achieve. A curious child will self teach.”
McJunkin believed that there was “no mission more important than the education of our youth” and thought that it was imperative for businesses to take an active role in local education. He once wrote, “if the business community fails to become actively involved to help public education succeed, in less than two decades the American economy will run out of its most essential energy source–human energy.”
With those ideas in mind, McJunkin created the concept of the Education Elevators program – a program that offered businesses a cost-effective way to be part of the solution. By providing the human capital to support, inspire and “elevate” students, McJunkin realized that businesses could have a positive impact on communities and make a real investment in our future.
Since McJunkin’s untimely death in 2011, the Education Elevators program has spread to other schools and businesses throughout WV and continues to gather steam.
"Education is too important and too essential for businesses to not become involved."
Founder of Education Elevators