Preparing for the workforce: The impact of Mississippi community colleges

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Community colleges fill an important space in the education arena, preparing some for the workforce, and others to go on to four-year programs.

Either way, two-year colleges are leading the charge when it comes to educating in fields beyond academics.

Community colleges are often called the backbone of the education system.

Kell Smith is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board.

“Community colleges are incredibly important to all of Mississippi. They’re affordable options. They can take a student, no matter their academic background, and put them where they want to be to succeed. Whether it’s an educational track or a career in technical track or workforce track, we provide the education and training that’s vital to the success of so many people,” said Smith.

Smith said Mississippi was the pioneer of junior colleges.

“Our community college system is the oldest in the nation, and it’s recognized as among the best. My hope is that it’ll continue to be the robust, flexible institution that can provide areas in the training that’s needed in order to be successful for business and industry, for students, and just anybody else who’s looking to better their life,” said Smith.

Community colleges play a number of roles, but their focus is always on improving access in the community.

“If you’re a high school dropout, looking to earn your high school equivalency, they can help you with that. If you’re looking to enroll in a university, they can put you in a position to do that. They can put you in a position to have the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workforce which benefits all of us in Mississippi,” said Smith.

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