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LOUISVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)—For any area getting and maintaining industry can be a challenge, especially when there isn’t a strong skilled workforce presence in the area.

Louisville Municipal School District is working toward remedying that.  A skilled workforce is hard to come by for many smaller cities.

” Winston Plywood wanted to partner with Louisville School District. They came in and went through the process. We actually use Mississippi State University as well in our training program. So we partnered with them and were able to get the classes started,”said Technology Teacher Kristi Jernigan.

Project Lead The Way is a program that was put in place at the beginning of the 2016 school year. Kristi Jernigan is the advisor for the program and she says she values the partnership because it gives the student a realistic look at the working world.

“With the Winston Plywood being a partner with us, we were able to go down there. We took some students and they go to see the actual process, the plant. That way the students are able to see, this is a field that I could actually go through,”said Jernigan.

Carly Taylor is a 9th grader at Louisville High.

” Ever since I got into this class, I’ve gotten interested in it.  Before this class I wasn’t interested at all,”said Taylor.

She’s learning a lot of valuable information thought this program.

” Though our projects, it’s like you get to learn more stuff about communication and team work. I’ve gotten to learn to work better with people and it makes me want to do it and have a job communicating and building stuff,”said Taylor.

According to Jernigan, Atlas upgraded the computer labs for Louisville, Noxapater and Nanih Waiya, to ensure the students have all they needed to be successful.

” We work in teams a lot. We have some individual work. We are working on engineering notebooks. They are learning software. They are learning software design and I think that’s something that will help them, if they want to continue on into advance engineering,”said Jernigan.

Taylor says, thanks to this course and the skills she is learning, it gives her more of an incentive to stay put after graduation.

” It’s great to have Winston Plywood because it’s like home for us.  We don’t have to go out far from home to work . We can just go up to the road to Winston Plywood and there are jobs that we learned about in school,”said Taylor.

The program is only open to 9-10 graders in the Louisville School District. In 2018 the program will be extended to 7th and 8th graders in the systems.

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