Bridging the Gap: PRCC Welding Program Partners with Local Industry for Internship Opportunities

May 6, 2024

Jason Pitts, Instructor of Welding on the Forrest County Campus of Pearl River Community College, heard from local industry that there was a need for more skilled welders. His response was to work with several companies to establish an internship program where current PRCC welding students can earn five credits towards their certificate or degree while also being paid.  

Ten people stand in front of outside wall.
PRCC welding students and Forrest County Campus staff gather with local company representatives to recognize spring interns. From left to right: PRCC Instructor of Welding Jason Pitts, PRCC Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs Dr. Jana Causey, Steven Dews of Dews Foundry, Laurence Hill, Kenneth Breakfield of Quality Manufacturing Group, Ladavion Ford, Hunter Pitts, Audry Munn of Munn Enterprises, Timothy Gibson, Josh Munn of Munn Enterprises, PRCC Instructor of Electronics Technology Sam McNease.

“Historically, there has been an emphasis on students going from the classroom to the big employers like the shipyards,” said Pitts. “But our local industry around the Pine Belt is hurting for employees.” 

Dews Foundry, Munn Enterprises, and Quality Manufacturing Group embraced the opportunity, bringing on board four students across the three companies. The students went through the normal hiring process for each company before beginning their internship.  

Dews Foundry does a lot of custom work, including pouring white iron castings for the paving industry. On their steel fabrication side, they do structural steel for buildings, bridge plates, and bridge repair items. 

Two men hold oversized check. Trees and grass in background.
Lawrence Hill and Steven Dews

“We have some good veteran welders that are really good with training, and I think it helped us to teach them the way we do things because we’re a little different,” said Steven Dews. “Lawrence was able to learn a lot as far as techniques or reading drawings and laying out and fitting and stuff outside of just the welding.”  

Munn Enterprises provides quality design, fabrication, and installation of unique visual products such as signs, awnings, and canopies, to increase brand awareness and drive more customers to a business. While the company has had interns in the past, this was their first experience with a welding internship. 

“We build big steel angle frames and other big pipes, so the interns did a lot of fabrication as well as fitting and finishing under supervision,” said Vice President of Engineering & Design Josh Munn. 

Jason Pitt’s son, Hunter, and Timothy Gibson were the two interns at Munn Enterprises.  

Young man wearing ball cap and another man hold oversized check with trees in the background.
Timothy Gibson and Josh Munn

“We did a lot of welding and fabricating at Munn,” said Hunter Pitts. “I really like it there and am looking to stay there after I finish at PRCC. They are a family-owned company that takes really good care of you.” 

Woman wearing sunglasses and young man hold oversized check with trees in background.
Audrey Munn and Hunter Pitts

Kenneth Breakfield is the Owner and President of Quality Manufacturing Group in Columbia. The company offers a wide range of products, such as custom pressure vessels, skid packages, structural steel equipment, hemi-heads, transport trailers, and LPG storage tanks. They also provide services such as material cutting, stress relieving, plate rolling, indoor blasting & painting, insulation of vessels and piping, and transport trailer inspections & repairs. PRCC Instructor Jason Pitts got his start as a welder at the company. 

“We really enjoyed the internship experience,” said Breakfield. “The person that came over is a really good guy and well-qualified for what we are doing.” 

Young man with ball cap holds oversized check with older man wearing sunglasses. Trees and grass in the background.
Ladavion Ford and Kenneth Breakfield

Ladavion Ford found his internship at Quality Manufacturing Group to be quite instructional. “I learned a lot, just by being over there – things like how to wash and gouge. The leadership and how everyone looks out for each other make it like a family.” 

Company representatives recently presented the college with $250 scholarships for the four students to cover their books and lab fees for Advanced Welding this summer. They also met the welding students they will have as interns during the summer. 

“PRCC does a great job at teaching the fundamentals, so when they come in to work for us, they have really good foundation welding skills,” said Dews. 

Upon completion of Advanced Welding, the students will have earned a 45-hour certificate. Some will take additional courses to earn their associate of applied science degree. 

Welding stock image by Jacob Cochran.

“The average age of a welder is fifty right now,” said Jason Pitts. “If the younger generation doesn’t step up and learn the trade, we’re not going to have anybody to build our bridges, cars, buildings, piping systems, and other structural items to sustain the things most people do not think about.”  

The welding students all agreed that Pitts is a phenomenal instructor. 

“Mr. Pitts is probably one of the best instructors here,” said Ford. “He looks out for us. I don’t think the internship would have been possible if it weren’t for him.” 

Welding Technology at PRCC 

In the Welding and Cutting Technologies program, students learn proper methods of welding and cutting with multiple processes currently used in the trade. Students will also learn and apply safety procedures as per industry standards.  

Qualities and characteristics of a good welder are strong determination, being self-motivated, and not scared of fire as the processes involve material up to 10,000 degrees. 

The program is offered on all PRCC Campuses. Instructor contact information can be found at 

Anyone interested in becoming a student in Welding Technology can start the process with an application to Pearl River Community College at 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), Facebook (@PRCCMKTG), and TikTok (@prcc_wildcats).

Article and photography (unless otherwise noted) by Laura O’Neill.

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