POPLARVILLE – Approximately 30 experienced equipment operators now hold national certification through a training program offered by Pearl River Community College Workforce Education.The employees of TL Wallace Construction Inc. in Columbia spent 32 hours in a classroom to earn National Center for Construction Education and Research certification.A lot of our clients that are industrial_type facilities require the certification to work on their sites, said Randall Lambert, director of safety and loss control for the company.A state program that invests a percentage of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund into training allows PRCC to send an instructor to companies, said Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, PRCC vice president for economic and community development.Mississippi has a very unique system in allowing community colleges to utiliize that fund to promote workforce development, he said. The TL Wallace program is a very good example of how we use those funds to keep workers skills and credentials current.The company paid only the $100 certification fee per employee.Instructor Brad Ladner runs PRCC construction equipment operator course Monday through Thursday and taught the TL Wallace classes on Fridays. He has conducted the same training for Hancock County and Waveland.Instead of them going through a two_semester course, we go do the bookwork for certification in four 8_hour days, he said.The program allows the company to meet federal and industry certification requirements without losing work time.We are working in several different plants and with clients who are requiring this NCCER training to certify us, Lambert said. We work 50-plus hours a week and there would be no way we could allow any of our employees to go through the PRCC program on campus. Through this program, they were able to come here and do this training.TL Wallace builds buildings, bridges, highways and public works projects throughout the Southeast and has about 250 employees. In addition to its association with PRCC for the on-site training, the company has hired several graduates of the college equipment operator program.It been very beneficial for us, Lambert said.PRCC can provide similar training in other fields as well, Alsobrooks said. For more information, telephone 601 403-1260.
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