Copiah-Lincoln Community College President Dr. Ronnie Nettles is proud to announce that Co-Lin is one of nine community and technical colleges in Mississippi and Louisiana who have received a $14,710,837 award through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program. Co-Lin received $886,965 to implement the Retraining the Gulf Coast Workforce through Information and Industrial Technology (IT) Pathways, which is a new, state-of-the art program aimed to assist displaced and unemployed workers as well as students without a high school diploma to complete a college credential, certificate, or degree.
“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting opportunity for students and the community,” said Nettles. “We are thrilled with this news!”
Responding to the significant economic need, the consortium of nine colleges will implement evidence-based Career Pathway programs leading to industry-valued credentials and degrees, while providing TAA impacted workers, students who have recently dropped out of high school and students who are interested in the program with comprehensive supports needed to boost completion. Each college will develop and implement pathways that feature a new, core foundational IT curriculum that integrates basic skills instruction with technical training to accelerate academic achievement and credential attainment.
Completion of the program leads to a marketable entry-level certification and lattices into multiple in-demand IT specialty pathways and certifications in Health Information, Computer Networking, Electronics, Cyber Security, Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC), Precision Machining Technology, Welding, and Automation and Control. Students will have access to multiple entry and exit points along their chosen pathway and will receive a number of support services throughout enrollment, including career counseling, advising, and case management. Targeted credentials include Computer Support Specialist, Medical Records Specialist, and Network Security Specialist. Industry-recognized certifications include A+, Network+, Security +, Health Information Technology (HIT), NIMS, and NCCER Core.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to modernize our workforce education classrooms and support our instructors as they implement accelerated courses for our students, displaced workers, and the unemployed,” said Dr. Gail Baldwin, Dean of Career, Technical, and Workforce Education. “Courses will be offered in an accelerated timeframe so our students can quickly earn a credential or degree and enter into the workforce skilled and ready for success. As students’ progress through the program, students will have access to wrap-around services to ensure success.”
Co-Lin would not have this opportunity if it were not for the partnerships and support from our local industry. Entergy, King’s Daughters Medical Center, Magee General Hospital, B & O Machine and Welding, Smith's Machine & Welding Co, Inc., STAR Service, Inc., Rex Lumber, the WIN Job Centers in the area, and the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a sensational opportunity for our community,” said Kenny Goza, Customer Account Manager at Entergy. “It is critical that we address the workforce needs in our community and in our State. This grant will help provide the resources needed to support training for a prepared workforce. This is an example of what partnerships can do. All of us working together can make a difference in our State.”
Dr. Jane Hulon, Vice President of Instruction at Co-Lin added, “An extraordinary set of partners will assist Co-Lin in implementing the grant.”
Support will be provided by Jobs for the Future (JFF), the National College Transition Network (NCTN), and the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE). Key national industry partners include CompTIA and IBM. CompTIA will deliver an associated accelerated credential and offer paid internships for students. IBM will provide $1.9 million in matching resources. The Gates, Joyce, Kellogg, Kresge, and the Open Society Foundations have committed $18 million to support college administration, faculty, staff, students, and community members.
The major goal of the grant is to provide students with a credential to enter the workforce, but students will also have the opportunity to continue their education at 4-year universities. Robust college transfer agreements (articulation agreements) have also been worked out with Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the University of Mississippi, Louisiana Technical University, Louisiana State University at Shreveport, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and Northwestern State University.
Partnering colleges include Meridian Community College, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Pearl River Community College, Mississippi Delta Community College, Bossier Parish Community College, Delgado Community College, Northeast Louisiana Technical College, and South Louisiana Community College.