Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

EMCC Says It Must Grow or ‘Die’

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — Growing demand work force training demands plus as many as 5 thousand potential trainees from a new tire plant starting as soon as two years are putting big demands on East Mississippi Community College.

EMCC President Dr. Rick Young says the school has maxed out its capacity and must either expand both its Mayhew and Scooba campuses to grow or start to die.

At Mayhew, a $17 million multipurpose building is the biggest need to provide 12 additional classroom and training space as well as a full-service student union.

School leaders would like to take bids this fall and have it open in 2015.

But that’ll require an additional financial commitment from Lowndes Clay, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Lauderdale and Kemper counties.

“We’ve reached our capacity in terms of what we can do with the resources we have now. We’re seeking to expand those capacities, buildings in particular,” Young said Monday following a 45-minute presentation to Lowndes County supervisors.

Young says once Yokohama Tire is up and running in Clay County in two years, the college could be called on to train as many as 5,000 workers over a period of years. That doesn’t include commitments to existing industries like PACCAR, which is about to require training for 100 additional workers, Baldor, Severstal and others.

The school’s 30,000-square-foot training center, which was an innovator when it was opened 15 years ago, is full and needs new equipment. It also must meet a new focus on health care careers as the college partners with Mississippi State and Mississippi University for Women on getting more students from two-year to four-year degrees in nursing and advanced business programs.

“You either grow or stay where you are. When you stay where you are, you start to die,” Young told supervisors.

In addition, the 4,000-student college is expanding other training programs and basic academic courses to get students further along on their educations faster.

He asked for a 2-mill tax commitment — more than $1 million a year — from Lowndes County in addition to the two mills the county already provides.

College staff will meet in the coming weeks with representatives from the counties to map out a financing plan for the building and some 15 million worth of new dorms at the Scooba campus.