EMCC Workforce and Community Services offer career-oriented programs

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East Mississippi Commu­nity College’s Workforce and Community Services division offers numerous training programs leading to in-demand occupations in the region. Programs range from skill-specific courses that last a few weeks to one-year certifi­cates.

Services offered by the division run the gamut from customized em­ployee training, to career services, workforce cre­dentialing, work-based learning and adult educa­tion.

In 2021, the WIOA Ca­reer Services department was created within the di­vision to consolidate the many community service programs offered at the college. The WIN Job Cen­ter now falls under the WIOA Career Services um­brella, as do a myriad of as­sistance programs once scattered across the divi­sion.

“We focus totally on meeting a person where they are, helping them find their path and working with them to develop a training plan, whether it is on the credit or noncredit side,” WIOA Career Serv­ices Director Greta Miller said. “Then we assist them in eliminating any barriers to getting into school or finding employment.”

Work-based learning is a priority, with an emphasis on paid internships, ex­ternships and apprentice­ships. Last August, the Workforce and Community Services division was awarded a $200,000 Mis­sissippi Apprenticeship Program, or MAP, grant supported by the U.S. De­partment of Labor.

Under the terms of the MAP grant, employers send their workers to EMCC to receive training that provides skills needed by the companies, which yields advancement op­portunities for their em­ployees.

FlexFactor, a new learn­ing program that encour­ages K-12 students to consider science, technol­ogy, engineering and man­ufacturing (STEM) fields, also falls under the WIOA Career Services depart­ment.

EMCC has partnered with NextFlex, local indus­tries and K-12 schools to implement the program, which requires students in small teams to identify real-world problems and come up with devices that incorporate flexible hybrid electronics to address the problems. They also have to identify a target market for the product, engage in customer discovery re­search and pitch their product to a group of pan­elists.

“FlexFactor isn’t just about technical electron­ics,” Miller said. “It also gets into entrepreneurship and business models. They have to figure out how much the device will cost to make and who they will partner with to make it.”

FlexFactor kicked off last fall with 274 students from three high schools in the college’s district. One group of students pro­posed the creation of hel­mets that could lessen the possibility of concussions, while another group’s con­cept centered around the use of specialized drones to detect and reduce acts of violence.

The Workforce and Com­munity Services division also works with local indus­tries and businesses to customize training to meet their needs.

In September, the divi­sion began offering a Process Manufacturing Bootcamp that teaches skills needed by those seeking employment with International Paper. Last fall, two new workforce programs in Heavy Civil Construction and Electrical Technology were offered at EMCC’s Scooba campus at the request of local em­ployers in that area.

“These are all programs that are meeting the needs of local employers while providing students the skills needed to earn a good wage here in East Mississippi without having to leave home,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Also­brooks said.





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