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Co-Lin expands reach with Kellogg grant

Copiah-Lincoln Community College took a step in expanding its student reach recently by offering a new program that will allow students to obtain their GED while taking college courses.

Representatives from the career and technical education program at Co-Lin presented the college’s Board of Trustees with information regarding the Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training program recently.

The MI-BEST program is funded through a $6 million grant provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Co-Lin will receive a total of $600,000 of the $6 million — $200,000 per year over three years,” Career-Technical Education Assistant Dean Brent Duguid said. “It’s a very healthy amount of money.”

Co-Lin students began the second year of the MI-BEST program Oct. 1.

“This program allows students to co-enroll in college at the same time they are working on their high school equivalency,” he said. “In the past, you could not enroll in college until you had that diploma or equivalency.”

When enrolled in MI-BEST students choose from five tracks of study — automotive, business office technology, diesel, HVAC and precision machining, he said.

“It’s a co-enrollment. It’s not one or the other,” he said. “The emphasis is put on the GED — we tell the students that is their priority — but they are also exposed to career options.”

When the school year began Aug. 15, 31 students were initially enrolled in the MI-BEST program, he said. As of Thursday, 27 students were still enrolled.

“Some of them are straight out of high school, some of them are 45 years old,” Career-Technical Education Dean Jackie Martin said. “They come from all walks of life. Some parents, some not parents.”

The goal of the MI-BEST program is for students to complete their GED or high school equivalency, earn a Career Readiness Certificate, earn pertinent industry credentials, complete a minimum of 15 hours in one of the MI-BEST career-technical education programs, complete 20 hours of employability and life skills training, and become employed, continue education or enlist in the military.

“I think it’s a program you’re going to be hearing a lot more about,” Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said. “I wanted you to know what it’s all about and how it’s funded.”

In other board business:

• The board approved the authorization of the administration to initiate a new project with the Bureau of Grounds and Real Property Management to replace the roof and make necessary repairs on Callendar Hall.

• The board approved the authorization of the administration to initiate a new project with the Bureau of Grounds and Real Property Management to repair and resurface streets and parking lots at the college.

• Board member Melton King reported to the board that Paul Jackson won the bid for the new women’s dormitory on the Wesson campus for $4.96 million. The predicted construction time period is 365 days.