Pearl River Community College’s Workforce Education department serves industrial clients through demand-driven training.
During the 2019-20 school year, Workforce Education trained 5,346 individuals.
The workforce team has a dual focus: Providing long-term skills base pre-employment training to the public and creating customized-training solutions for local businesses and their employees.
“Our staff is committed to helping you succeed in achieving your career goals,” said Rebecca Brown, PRCC’s Dean of Workforce and Community Development.
An industry breakdown of the companies served by PRCC includes: 37 percent manufacturing, 27 percent health care, 18 percent government, 15 percent energy and 3 percent hospitality.
“We provide training wherever it is needed,” said Brown. “Sometimes businesses come to us and many times we train onsite with many companies. Our subject matter experts have strong industry backgrounds themselves and they frequently come directly from the industries in which they train.”
Funding for this training comes from a number of sources. They include Mississippi’s Workforce Enhancement Training (WET), the Mississippi Development Authority, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and federal funds administered by Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District.
“These training partnerships provide basic skills, technical and job-specific training to both job seekers and employees looking to advance,” said Brown.
The Workforce Education Department covers the entire 3200 square miles making up PRCC’s six-county district. The department has offices in Poplarville, Hancock County, Stennis Space Center and the Lowery A. Woodall Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
The ATC is located on 12 acres in the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park.
Public classes offered at the ATC include Commercial Truck Driving (CDL), ServSafe, Forklift Operation, Welding, Electrical, Manufacturing Skills, Structural Fitting, OSHA Safety, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Nursing Aide (CNA).
Those programs are administered by Workforce Project Managers Richie Lewis and Michael Yarbrough.
“Our daily mission is to help others gain more marketable and value-added employment skills to improve lives and our overall community here in the Pine Belt area,” said Lewis, who joined the PRCC team in June 2019. “We strive to be training match-makers, where we link up individuals or companies with whatever resources we have available to help them meet their training objectives and needs.”
Yarbrough joined PRCC in July 2019.
“I enjoy equipping students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to improve their lives, opportunities, and community,” said Yarbrough. “It’s a privilege being a positive contribution in the development of others and making our state and community a little better each day.”
PRCC also serves individuals through the Hattiesburg WIN Job Center.
From July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, 37 Career Tech students and 13 Workforce students received new WIOA ITA awards totaling $217,565.
From July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, students were awarded $131,219 in WIOA funds toward their education and training at PRCC.
Twenty Career Tech students participated in paid internships in their fields of study.
It’s Brown’s opinion that Workforce Education at PRCC makes a difference to a whole lot of working people.
“We are not limited in the training topics we provide,” she said. “We create tailored solutions for the challenges employers are facing today, tomorrow and in the future.”