Accelerate MS, the lead office for Mississippi workforce development strategy and coordination, awarded Meridian Community College and East Central Community College $1.4 million for their respective Electrical Utility Lineman programs.
This dual award will allow the colleges to expand capacity in their training programs by hiring additional instructors and equipment needed for classes.
“This is an exciting investment, an exciting partnership and one that Accelerate MS takes very seriously,” said Ryan Miller, executive director of the workforce development office, as he addressed an audience gathered outside the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center on the MCC campus.
He explained the state investment is to help increase the number of line workers both in power and connectivity through fiber.
“Linemen are first responders; men and women who put themselves in harm’s way that make sure we have power and connectivity. That’s no small thing. These are first responders we need to celebrate and thank."
“This is a sector we need to grow, because we know there’s a great need in Mississippi,” Miller said.
Noting that Mississippi has the most competitive workforce development structure in the country, MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said, “this award makes me proud. It represents confidence in what we do as a commitment to this region and a belief we have what it takes to create opportunity for industry and potential employees.”
He added, “The best part is that we’re jointly awarded this grant with our friends to the west – East Central Community College.”
East Central Community College President Dr. Brent Gregory said ECCC is extremely excited about the grant, the new partnership with MCC, and Mississippi's new direction. “This is the first step between these institutions – and not the last – in working together to provide workforce education for this area of Mississippi,” he added.
MCC Vice President for Workforce Solutions Joseph Knight said, “we’ve got industry behind us, workforce development, and we have two powerful community colleges coming together for the benefit of our communities.”
Accelerate Mississippi was created in 2020 by legislation signed by the Governor. Its purpose is to serve as the lead office for Mississippi workforce development strategy and coordination.