Co-Lin hosts business and industry appreciation event
A new program that intends to help transition Copiah-Lincoln Community College students into the workplace was introduced to a crowd of local business and college officials as part of a Business and Industry Appreciation Luncheon at the Thames Center at Co-Lin Thursday.
The event, sponsored by Georgia-Pacific and other local businesses, also recognized industry and college individuals for exceptional service and partnership.
Called the South Mississippi Alliance for Workforce Solutions, the new training program was signed by five presidents of participating colleges in December.
The goal of the program is twofold, Co-Lin Career, Technical and Workforce Education Dean Jackie Martin said.
“This is a program that will help students get job training that is required. It will also help businesses and industries in the area find suitable employees,” Martin said. “The program will train students for high-tech, high-skilled and high-waged jobs. With the cooperation of industry, it will benefit both parties.”
Co-Lin has done a number of things to ensure students receive highly specialized skills in the last year. In February, Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles showed board of trustee members cutting edge manufacturing equipment purchased with money from a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant.
Co-Lin was awarded close to $900,000 of funds allocated for specific career pathways, such as industrial information technology and cyber-security as part of a grant partnership with other regional colleges.
Nettles and the board hope the investment leads to increased student enrollment in the field. Construction is also under way on a new healthcare services building that will offer specialized healthcare training for students.
The alliance between the colleges seeks to develop credentialing packages in the sectors of both healthcare and manufacturing.
“We believe that by combining our resources and expertise from each college, we can better meet the workforce needs of the communities we serve in south Mississippi,” Nettles said.
During the Business and Industry Appreciation awards ceremony, this year’s President’s Award was presented to King’s Daughters Medical Center in appreciation of their
internships, in-house training programs and a commitment to students’ selection of career pathways through Co-Lin’s Scrubs and Scopes Conference.
The Special Recognition Award was presented to Puckett Machinery for their support for the diesel technology program at Co-Lin. This includes serving on the program’s craft and advisory committee and also providing many employment opportunities for diesel program graduates. Puckett Machinery also has donated engines and parts for instruction to ensure the program is up-to-date and has established a scholarship specifically for students majoring in diesel technology.
Enersteel of Natchez received a Special Recognition Award for their work with the workforce welding program curriculum. The company provides employees that serve on Co-Lin’s Career and Technical Advisory Committees and Workforce Advisory Council. Enersteel employees visit classrooms, speak directly with the students, give feedback to instructors and workforce personnel and supply Co-Lin with metal. Enersteel also has worked with Co-Lin’s Workforce Education Division in revising the Natchez and Wesson night welding curriculum to follow the NCCER Contren curriculum and to add skills that were lacking from the previous program. They also hire graduates.
Ora Franklin of the Brookhaven WIN Job Center received the Certificate of Appreciation for her 25 years of services to the Career, Technical and Workforce Education.
Franklin has served on Co-Lin’s Career and Technical Advisory Committees and has assisted workforce with promoting their classes. She also has helped guide countless individuals searching for jobs.
Regarding the new training program, Martin said, “We would like to develop a natural feeder program between our students and local business for years to come,” Martin said. “We also hope to offer internships from your businesses for our students.”
Georgia-Pacific provided their catfish cooking team to prepare a catfish meal for the luncheon.