Pearl River Community College announces funding for state-of-the-art workforce training
This is a press release from the Area Development Partnership.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Today, Pearl River Community College (PRCC) announced its acceptance of $247,266 in funding that will be used to purchase state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training equipment for the college’s Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg. The funding has been made available through the State of Mississippi and the Mississippi Works fund.
Across the nation, employers are experiencing a shortage of qualified and highly trained job-seekers, but new training equipment at PRCC coupled with the enhancement of the two-year Industrial Electronics Technology program curriculum will help provide a qualified workforce to employers in the Pine Belt. PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood says that he is “grateful for the significant contribution from the Mississippi Works fund and is thrilled about the opportunities that will be made available to both students and employers because of the investment.” Breerwood also noted that “manufacturing jobs make up almost seven percent of the Hattiesburg MSA’s employment, which provides a significant economic impact to the region.”
The high-tech equipment will be used to train individuals in both credit and noncredit coursework at the community college to better prepare students for the advanced manufacturing workplace. Trey Smith, human resources manager at Kohler Engines, Hattiesburg, says the following: “There’s no doubt that many businesses today are dealing with a skills gap. But, with the addition of this new equipment and curriculum, PRCC will be ideally positioned to continue providing local students with the hands-on training and expertise that companies like ours are looking for.”
Funding for the grant was garnered through the Greater Hattiesburg Workforce Needs Proposal, which was developed in conjunction with PRCC, the Area Development Partnership (ADP) and 16 local industrial employers. PRCC was able to submit the proposal, complete with industry survey data, new curriculum, and equipment needs, to the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) in the Office of the Governor where it was approved. Executive Director of the SWIB, James Williams, is “excited about the opportunity to assist in the growth and continued development of PRCC’s programs as well as Greater Hattiesburg.” Mr. Williams also noted that “The SWIB, Mississippi Development Authority, and the State of Mississippi is proud to provide the funding to PRCC and looks forward to seeing its positive impact on job growth in the region.”
The Industrial Electronics Technology (IET) program at PRCC’s Forrest County Center is already being taught with the updated curriculum as outlined in the Greater Hattiesburg Workforce Needs Proposal. This curriculum was built around the needs of advanced manufacturing facilities in the Greater Hattiesburg region and has been approved by the Mississippi Community College Board and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). David Collum, instructor and lead in the curriculum development and approval of the IET program, said that “PRCC is looking forward to even more accreditations for the program including ETA-I Certified Electronics Technician, FANUC Robots, OSHA, and CRC certifications as it continues to grow.” The courses have been at maximum capacity, but registration is open for the fall semester. “There are limited spaces available, and they will go fast,” says Collum. New equipment for the program will be fully installed and functional by the end of April. Individuals can enroll in the Industrial Electronics Technology program by directly contacting David Collum at JCollum@prcc.edu or 601.554.5539.
The Area Development Partnership (ADP) serves as Greater Hattiesburg’s regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization. The ADP’s mission is to stimulate economic growth and enhance the well-being and quality of life for all area citizens. For more information, contact the ADP at 601.296.7500 or visit www.theadp.com.