EMCC’s Communiversity offers the workforce development programs Gov. Reeves says can revitalize the job market

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – During his State of the State address Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves emphasized the need to continue investing in workforce development programs.

Programs like those at East Mississippi Community College’s Communiversity, which offer workforce training in areas like certified nursing, computer-aided design, maintenance, and more.

“I believe that if we make this investment, Mississippi will develop that workforce of the future and set up our state for success for years to come,” the governor said during his address.

Gov. Reeves believes these programs can help the state end the labor shortage as well as train Mississippians to succeed in well-paying jobs.

“Advanced manufacturing, construction, and healthcare are areas that we’re giving a lot of attention to help solve the skills crisis and worker shortage in the local area,” says EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks.

In EMCC’s Precision Manufacturing and Machining Lab, students learn to use equipment advanced enough to turn a piece of metal into a Mississippi coin. Those same skills that they develop building replica machine parts can help them make plenty of actual money as well.

“You’re measuring parts, you’re making sure the parts work together,” says Engineering Tech and Design Instructor Ray Hollis Jr. “That extends into any field that they go to work in.”

Engineering Tech and Design Instructor Ray Hollis Jr. says one of his students’ previous assignments was to build a drone with a delivery system that could drop a golf ball.

“They had to have moving gears working together with a motor, and the legs, and landing assembly and all the connections necessary,” Hollis says.

Dr. Alsobrooks says the school partners with local businesses to help students develop the specific skills that employers are looking for.

“We’re a leader in workforce development and partnering with our local industry and business community,” he says. “To create programs that prepare people to enter their field.”

Dr. Alsobrooks says with many programs requiring face-to-face interaction and hands-on work, the pandemic has hurt enrollment.

However, the school is set to receive money from the Restore Act, along with a piece of the $130 million in ARPA funds Gov. Reeves proposed in his budget recommendation.

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