Two PRCC students receive Kohler scholarships

Two Pearl River Community College Industrial Electronics Technology students, John Curtis Richards and Austin Nickey, were recently awarded $6,000 scholarships from the Kohler Manufacturing Machining Company in Hattiesburg.

Richards, 31, is from Petal and Nickey, 24, is from Choctaw. They are sophomore students in the program.

“I am grateful for our continued partnership with Kohler Engines,” said Dr. James David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at PRCC’s Forrest County Center. “They work closely with us to help align curriculum with industry needs and assist with training students through internship opportunities.

“The Kohler Ready to Work scholarship is set up to allow two second-year students, who have successfully completed their first year in the Industrial Electronics Technology pathway, to stay in school and continue to be successful.”

Both Richards and Nickey plan to put their scholarships to good use.

“This scholarship means getting into a field I would enjoy working in and getting paid pretty decent doing it,” said Richards, who is a Petal High School graduate. “This degree is a symbol of my ability to understand what’s going on in this field.”

The same is true from Nickey, who is a Phi Theta Kappa student and a member of the National Technical Honors Society. He is a graduate of Choctaw Central High School.

“This scholarship is a sign of an opportunity and recognition that the work I have done means something,” said Nickey. “I am inspired to work even harder.”

Both plan to enter the workforce as soon as they graduate.       

Kohler Co. was founded in 1873 by John Michael Kohler and is based in Kohler, Wisconsin. 

Kohler Engines opened an engine manufacturing plant in Hattiesburg in 1997. There are now two plants – one for machining iron and aluminum components and one for warehousing and engine assembly – both located in the Hattiesburg – Forrest County Industrial Park.

Collum believes this partnership will be a benefit for PRCC students for years to come.

“With this new scholarship program, Kohler Engines will help Pearl River Community College retain students who have shown the ability to persist and be successful,” he said.

For information about the Industrial Electronics Technology program at PRCC, contact Collum at or instructor Sam McNease at 601-554-5477, or email:

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