New CCC program turning local dropouts into highly-skilled workers
CLARKSDALE – Not finishing high school no longer has to foreshadow limited employment opportunities or missing out on a college education for local adults.

New CCC program turning local dropouts into highly-skilled workers

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - bdavis@coahomacc.edu

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Wed Jul 1, 2015

CCC Executive Director of Workforce Education speaks with local business leaders last week during a planning meeting held to discuss the local industry needs and what CCC can do to help fulfill them.

CLARKSDALE – Not finishing high school no longer has to foreshadow limited employment opportunities or missing out on a college education for local adults.

Coahoma Community College has a new program in the works that coincides with a statewide effort to get adults who didn’t graduate from high school a GED, high-level skills training and on the path to a college degree.

CCC was among Mississippi 15 community colleges to receive a $6 million grant, over the next three years, from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to boost education and job training in the State of Mississippi.

While it has yet to be determined specifically how much CCC will receive of the grant, CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner said the money will be geared towards creating pathways that will give adult high school dropouts the opportunity to gain valuable job skills and local businesses a pool of qualified applicants.

“We are excited about meeting individuals where they are right now and preparing them for employment,” said Towner. “The needs for our local industries are great. There are actually several jobs available in our area of the state for welders, HVAC professinals, and machinist, to name a few … Offering these pathways will enable us to take potential employees, train them in a non-credit bearing effort, and ready them for these job vacancies that are in the immediate area.”

Since the announcement, CCC has reached out to local businesses in its five-county district—Coahoma, Bolivar Tallahtache, Tunica and Quitman counties— for a planning meeting hosted last week at CCC’s Ned G. Gathwright Workforce Development Center to discuss the local industry needs and what CCC can do to help fulfill them.

Based on those recommendations, plans are currently in the works to introduce several pathways that dropouts can take to work their way through a GED onto a college education.

Preliminary plans would allow those individuals to obtain their GED and choose one of three career pathways to pursue—Welding, Industrial Maintenance and Emergency Medical Technology (EMT).

“This will be very beneficial for those who don’t have a high school diploma as well as develop a pool of qualified applicants for our local employers to choose from,” said CCC Executive Director of Workforce Development Steven Jossell. “Our goal is to offer individuals the opportunity to obtain a skills and receive stackable credentials that will make them marketable employees.”

A second phase of the program will also offer career pathways that will allow students to move from short-term programs with credit hours that could be used towards a technical certificate and degree.

“We’re excited because this grant will increase our capacity to make connections with potential students starting at the non-credit- bearing level and eventually leading to credit-bearing courses and hopefully onto a college degree,” Towner said.