Cutting-edge equipment is presented at Co-Lin board
The Copiah-Lincoln Community College opened its first board of trustees meeting of the year with a look at cutting edge manufacturing equipment recently purchased by the college to encourage increased interest in the field and potentially increase enrollment at the college.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant is a $14 million grant partnership with other regional colleges. Grant funds are to be allocated for specific career pathways, such as industrial information technology and cyber security.
The total amount of grant money is just under $900,000 to be distributed over a three-year period, and the college quickly spent just under $350,000 of it on related equipment that includes an automated turning center and a lathe.
With the new automated systems, students can now program a computer to do work once done manually.
“We call it accelerated learning. This accelerates the timeframe the student is able to pick up new information. With the new equipment, it makes the process much more efficient,” said Co-Lin Career, Technical and Workforce Education Dean Jackie Martin.
Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles is hopeful the college’s interest in pursuing manufacturing technology will spark an interest in the community.
“We’re really excited about the new equipment. We also realize how important manufacturing is to the region. With the new equipment, we believe students and potential
students, have a great opportunity to learn a needed skill,” said Dr. Nettles.
Currently, 71 students are enrolled in the cyber security and industrial IT pathways.
Enrollment in general has decreased the last couple of years, following a larger trend throughout the state and nation, according to Dr. Nettles. An unaudited report presented by Instructional Services Vice President Dr. Jane Hulon reported a decrease of 259 students from 2013 on all three campuses.
“Generally, as things start to go good in the economy, enrollment decreases. As things start to go bad, enrollment increases,” Nettles said.
Hulon advocated increased efforts by the college in retaining students. In part, Nettles and the board hope publicity regarding the new manufacturing equipment will lead to increased enrollment at the college.
Other efforts to increase enrollment at the college include shorter-term coursework, attempts to get students re-enrolled and a focus on non-traditional students.
On a bright note, revenue continues to increase at the college, noted Stan Patrick. “We are looking sound financially. We still await additional revenue, including Pell grant money,” Patrick said.
The board then approved 12 purchase orders over $5,000.
Hulon provided the board a review of an upcoming program by the college to help students with writing skills. The idea, Hulon suggested, is to help students develop writing skills, encourage teachers to increase writing-related assignments and provide support services including a writing center. The program is called the “The Write Path.”
In other news, the board welcomed the addition of Roland Ross to the board. Ross was appointed a five-year term with the board.
Other business at the meeting included:
• A report on a project to re-roof the Ewing Administration Building on the Wesson campus.
• A report on a roofing and fire suppression project on Ellis Hall on the Wesson campus.
• Sigma Kappa Delta collected more than 300 books to donate to The Doll’s House in Brookhaven.
• Wolf Aware brought in a speaker from Region 8 Mental Health Services to address the topic of drug and alcohol use/addiction.
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