- Wesson News
In-kind donations & $$$ support programs
The Workforce Education Division of Co-Lin has received a $1.2 million grant from AccelerateMS and in-kind donations from Georgia Pacific (GP) to support and expand training programs.
The AccelerateMS monies will be used for industrial welding, commercial truck driving and electrical lineman training. Training and equipment will be upgraded at current locations and introduced at new locations, including the college’s Natchez Campus and Simpson County Center.
GP’s donations encompass transmitters, piping, meters and programmable logic controllers to monitor, troubleshoot and calibrate processes such as flow, pressure, level and temperature for Co-Lin’s Automation and Control Technology program to ensure students are well-prepared to enter the workplace.
Co-Lin offers the two-year Automation & Control program on all three of its campuses and trains students for employment as automated manufacturing systems technicians in maintenance diagnostics, engineering, or production in an automation environment. Recent graduates of the program are now earning competitive salaries and benefits working for companies such as Walmart Distribution, Nissan North America in Canton, Mississippi, Entergy, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, International Paper, Sanderson Farms, among others.
“We are very grateful for the generous donation that allows us to purchase modern industrial instruments and equipment that are vital components in many processing and manufacturing industries,” says Mandy Case, program coordinator of Automation & Control Technology.
For industrial welding training on the Wesson campus and at the Simpson Center geared to meeting the regional demand for welders, the AccelerateMS funding will allow the college to invest in welding simulators so students have limitless skill repetition opportunities, can diversify their skills and safely learn their trade as they gain knowledge across many different areas of industrial welding, such as ship fitting, pipe fitting, industrial maintenance, and heavy equipment repair. The immediate feedback provided by the learning technology will allow students and their instructors to quickly see their mistakes and customize individual training experiences to address skill needs.
The success of the recently implemented Workforce Education Electrical Lineman program on the Wesson campus has validated the program’s expansion plans, and the AccelerateMS special project award will provide for much needed equipment for the current location and allow Co-Lin to establish additional sites for the lineman school. District industry partners have asked the college to offer the program in the Natchez and Simpson County areas to duplicate the successful training and placing graduates in job.
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security reports 357 openings for heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers and industrial truck/tractor operators annually for which Co-Lin has expanded commercial truck driving training that has graduated 11 students on its Wesson campus and at its Simpson County Center. AccelerateMS funding will allow additions to the truck driving fleet and enable Co-Lin to offer training and testing on both automatic and standard transmission vehicles at its 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,” says Luke Laird, Co-Lin Workforce Center Director. “This award will substantially benefit the skill and talent pipeline in these high demand fields within our ecosystem.”
“We make every effort to meet the skill needs requested by our business partners and take seriously the needs of the labor force in the Co-Lin district,” Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, Co-Lin president, adds. “We are extremely grateful to receive this funding from AccelerateMS to take our workforce education training programs and student skills to the next level.”
AccelerateMS is the leading office for workforce development strategy and delivery in Mississippi.