LCSD and EMCC’s Learning Centers Poised to Bring Great Benefits to Local Students, Businesses
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch
The Lowndes County School District’s $11 million career tech center is on schedule to hold its first classes beginning this Fall, whole EMCC’s Communiversity is planned to open its door next year. Local small-business leaders and representatives from the LCSD and EMCC came together to discuss what these facilities will be able to to for students and their communities in the future. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was on hand to help bring everyone together: “An educated workforce is the answer to just about every problem we have,” Hosemann said after the two-hour meeting, which featured a round-table discussion with himself, educators and small business owners. “Right now, we have low unemployment and that’s great, but what we need is a high participation rate. We have about 1.1 million people working now. If we can get that number to 1.3 million, everything works. Health care works. The (state) budget works. Infrastructure, repairing our roads and bridges, works. Everything.
“All of that depends on building an educated workforce,” he added. “There isn’t a tractor in the Delta that doesn’t have a real complicated platform on it. If you can’t run a computer, you can’t run a tractor. It’s the same with everything.”
Katie McCrary of McCrary Construction Services, which employs about 35 workers, has organized a group of 17 area businesses to work with the LCSD; she spoke with the assembly: “Our group employs close to 2,000 people,” she said. “We appreciate the large industries in our area, because a lot of us work with them. But we need employees, too.”
“We’ve got to make school trade classes cool again,” she went on to say. “I’m passionate about that. A lot of kids don’t know what they want to do. In working with some schools, I saw kids who were academically challenged and pegged as trouble-makers because they were never going to be able to sit down and perform in math and reading and English like the kids sitting next to them.
“But when you put that kid on a motor, he finds out he has the ability to make $50,000, $75,000 a year, just like that, when (he comes) out of these programs,” she added. “It changes his whole life.”
“Come out and see us, talk to us,” EMCC President ThomasHuebner said. “Let us show you how we can use resources available for everyone. We need to be changing perceptions and working harder to integrate with businesses and the community. What are you needs? How can we help?”