Co-Lin receives grants for three new career-tech programs

The Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) has awarded Co-Lin three Career and Technical Education (CTE) Challenge Grants for 2018 totaling $658,190.77 for the implementation of an Electrical Technology Program on the Wesson Campus, Emergency Medical Technology Paramedic Program on the Natchez Campus, and an Automation & Control Technology Program at the Simpson County Center.

“We are very fortunate to receive this start-up funding from the Mississippi Community College Board for one new Career-Technical Program on each of the Co-Lin Campuses,” said Wesson Campus Vice President Dr. Jane Hulon.

Co-Lin’s Dean of Career, Technical, and Workforce Education Jackie Martin stated that in Mississippi, about 60 percent of the jobs are middle-skill positions which require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

“These are high skilled, high wage technical job training programs that will have a lasting and positive impact on the communities we serve,” said Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles.

Martin added, “In order to meet the needs of current and future business and industry in our area, we must start new programs such as these to help close the skills gap in our state.”

CTE Challenge Grants are workforce projects designed to fund the establishment of industry specific CTE programs that align to a sector or business and industry within a college district that do not qualify for traditional workforce training dollars. These programs demonstrate a critical need to meet the workforce demand requested by the local business community to reduce the skills gap within the district. These programs are also intended to increase local participants’ skill levels and per capita incomes.

“Currently, the state does not provide start-up funding to begin new career-technical programs at the community college level,” said Martin. “We must seek other avenues of funding to ensure the training we provide meets the need of our local community and is up-to-date with new technology. It is a priority to Co-Lin administration that we are meeting the workforce training needs in our district.”

All CTE Challenge Grant awards will be subject to the same monitoring requirements as existing, traditional workforce projects.

The CTE Challenge Grant funds are intended to assist the college with the initial costs of establishing this program. The college will be responsible for sustaining the program after the initial start-up monies are expended.