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Classes aim to help self, job abilities

The Workforce Education Program at Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege is reaching out to people of all ages, giving them theoption of doing anything from building a new career to fun withphotography to emergency medicine and business classes, at anaffordable price or in some cases free.

Workforce Training Specialist Celeste Williamson said theprograms are aimed at several things, such as helping people findnew careers or bolster their qualifications, but also just givingthem something enjoyable to do with their free time.

“When the economy began to go down, I can remember sitting in astaff meeting and someone saying, ‘The economy is going down,enrollment will go up, it has always done that,'” she said. “Peopletransition jobs, or they’ve lost their job, and this is anopportunity to take training. Maybe they’ve got free time theydidn’t have when they were working.”

There are also computer courses available, and they can be takenonsite or online, Williamson said. She said the classes are six- toeight-week courses that give 24 hours of training and are closelymonitored by online instructors.

“We have facilitators … who are very student-minded, and willhelp them work through the classes, and they’re there to answerquestions for you,” she said. “They’re very supportive of thestudent.”

Career training programs focus on giving participants trainingto put them into the workforce, with classes like commercial truckdriving, heating and air conditioning, and welding. These classesare aimed at helping people find jobs in new career fields,Williamson said.

Most exciting, perhaps, Williamson said, are the personalenrichment classes, which bring fun to the classroom for people whoare simply looking to enjoy some time of entertainment after a longworkday.

“We’ve done that for many, many years just to provide somethingto the community. There are adults who’d like to do somethingproductive with their spare time to learn things and improvethemselves,” she said.

Among the personal enrichment classes listed for 2009-10 arecake decorating, western dancing for couples, and holiday partyfoods. For the more artistic types, there is a class for beginningphotography, basic painting and basic drawing.

“I’d take the holiday party foods if I could. While it’s notheld on campus, that is a great idea, if I had time I’d go takeit,” Williamson said. “It’s a good idea for the holidays, just anopportunity to learn new party food ideas.”

Online personal enrichment, which costs $89 per class, offersclasses like genealogy basics, “Goodbye to Shy” – a course to helpbuild personal confidence, a class to teach ways to assist agingparents, outdoor survival techniques and speed reading.

“The sky’s the limit as far as personal enrichment andprofessional development online go. It would be hard not to findsomething you’d be interested in,” Williamson said. “There’s somany to choose from.”

Williamson said anyone interested in the Workforce EducationProgram or personal enrichment classes can call 601-643-8711 formore information.