EMCC Workforce and Community Services offers career-focused programs | Business
East Mississippi Community College’s Workforce and Community Services Division offers many training programs that lead to in-demand occupations in the area. Programs range from skill-specific courses that last a few weeks to year-long certificates.
Services offered by the division run the gamut from customized employee training and career services to workforce certification, workplace 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 Employment Center now falls under the WIOA Career Services umbrella, as do a myriad of assistance programs once scattered across the division.
“We are totally focused on meeting a person where they are, helping them find their path, and working with them to develop a training plan, whether on the credit or non-credit side,” said said Greta Miller, Director of Career Services at WIOA. “Then we help them remove barriers to entering school or finding a job.”
Work-based learning is a priority, with a focus on paid internships, externships and apprenticeships. Last August, the Workforce and Community Services division received a $200,000 grant from the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program, or MAP, supported by the US Department of Labor.
Under the terms of the MAP grant, employers send their workers to EMCC to receive training that provides the skills needed by businesses, which provides opportunities for advancement 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 incorporating flexible hybrid electronics to solve The problems. They must also 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 touches on entrepreneurship and business models. They need to figure out how much it will cost to make the device and who they will partner with to make it.
FlexFactor began last fall with 274 students from three high schools in the college district. One group of students proposed the creation of helmets that could reduce the possibility of concussions, while another group’s concept centered on the use of specialized drones to detect and reduce acts of violence.
Officials from PACCAR Engine Company and ABB, formerly Baldor Electric Co., hosted tours of their respective facilities for the students and served as panelists during their product presentations.
The Workforce and Community Services division also works with local industries and businesses to customize training to suit their needs. Last May, when officials at Plum Creek Environmental, a manufacturer and distributor of waste and recycling containers, needed additional welders with specific skills at the West Point plant, they turned to the Workforce division. and Community Services of EMCC.
They offered a recurring seven-week course in gas arc welding, offered at EMCC’s West Point-Clay County Center, which also teaches precision measurements and blueprint reading. Students are guaranteed an interview with Plum Creek upon successful completion of the course.
In September, the division began offering a Process Manufacturing Bootcamp that teaches the skills necessary for people seeking employment with International Paper. Last fall, two new labor programs in heavy civil construction and electrical technology were offered on EMCC’s Scooba campus at the request of local employers in this region.
“These are all programs that meet the needs of local employers while providing students with the skills to earn a good salary here in eastern Mississippi without having to leave their homes,” said EMCC president, Dr. Scott Alsobrooks. “Our Workforce and Community Services division serves as a link between the local workforce and area businesses and industries, which benefits everyone involved.”