Co-Lin Awarded $1.2M

Co-Lin Awarded $1.2M Picture

Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Workforce Education Division recently received notification of approximately $1.2 million dollars in funds awarded to the college by AccelerateMS. The funds will be used to enhance in-demand workforce education programs including industrial welding, commercial truck driving, and electrical lineman. Thanks to the new funds, these programs will soon see upgraded equipment and offerings at current locations and expansion to new locations, including the college’s Natchez Campus and Simpson County Center.

Co-Lin continues to offer short-term workforce education training programs at both the Wesson Campus and Simpson Center to meet regional demand for welders. This significant funding will allow the college to invest in welding simulators to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall training program. Simulators provide limitless skill repetition needed by students for proper training regardless of the cost or availability of supplies. Students will also benefit from the skill diversity by this advanced technology as it will allow students to safely learn the trade while gaining knowledge across many different genres of industrial welding such as ship fitting, pipe fitting, industrial maintenance, and heavy equipment repair. Additionally, the immediate feedback provided by this system will allow students and instructors to quickly see mistakes and then customize individual learning experiences to address those skill needs.

“Our college makes every effort to meet the skill needs requested by our business partners and takes seriously the needs of the labor force in the Co-Lin district,” stated Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, Co-Lin President. “We are extremely grateful to receive this funding from AccelerateMS to take our workforce education training programs and student skills to the next level.”

The success of the recently implemented Workforce Education Electrical Lineman program on the Wesson campus has validated the expansion of the program. The AccelerateMS special project award will go a long way to add much-needed equipment for the current location and will allow Co-Lin to proceed with additional sites for the lineman school. District industry partners have asked for program expansion to be offered in the Natchez and Simpson County areas, as the program has been extremely successful in training and placing graduates in excellent employment opportunities.

According to state data provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, there is a combined total of 357 openings for heavy/ tractor-trailer truck drivers and industrial truck/ tractor operators annually. This school year, in response to the significant need for commercial vehicle operators, Co-Lin Workforce Education increased offerings in commercial truck driving training by implementing programs on the Wesson and Simpson Campuses. The initiative will have produced 12 graduates by the end of this quarter. Funding will allow for additions to the truck driving fleet as Co-Lin will be able to offer training and testing on both automatic and standard transmission vehicles at all class locations.

“The backing from AccelerateMS will allow our truck driving program to diversify its fleet which is critical in providing training for the commercial vehicles that our industry partners are now deploying,” Luke Laird, Co-Lin Workforce Center Director adds. “This award will substantially benefit the skill and talent pipeline in these high-demand fields within our ecosystem.”

According to the organization’s social media and website, “AccelerateMS is the leading office for workforce development strategy and delivery in Mississippi. The AccelerateMS Ecosystem approach is designed to develop and improve strategies that meet the unique needs of specific regions within the state.”

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