Category Archives: LCSD

LCSD and EMCC’s Learning Centers Poised to Bring Great Benefits to Local Students, Businesses

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 speaks at the LCSD Career Tech Center in east Columbus Thursday afternoon – Photo by Deanna Robinson – Dispatch Staff

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?”

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LCSD Officials Tour Nearly-Completed Tech Center

LCSD Officials Tour Nearly-Completed Tech Center

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

From left, LCSD Superintendent Robin Ballard, assistant Superintendent Tina Younger, Superintendent Lynn Wright and Maintenance Director Greg Wheat tour the LCSD Technology Center on Lehmberg. Photo by Luisa Porter – Dispatch Staff

Several years after a narrow defeat on an (ultimately successful) bond issue, Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright is now touring the fruits of that bond, a massive facility off of Lehmberg Road which will soon be accepting studentsfor its tech center and job training programs aimed at supplying a well-educated and well-prepared workforce for local industry. The Lowndes County Career and Technical Center is estimated to be about 55 thousand square feet in size, and it cost about $11 million to construct: The Lowndes County Career and Technical Center.

“I’d say it’s about 95 percent finished,” maintenance supervisor Greg Wheat said, as finishing touches were being applied by the workers. The facility is expected to open formally next August, and it is estimated that it will be able to comfrotably hold about 500 students. They are also in the process of acquiring the gear needed to fill the huge workrooms, and to hire faculty and staff. Nine separate fields of study — automotive service technician, construction core, teacher academy, health sciences, industrial maintenance, welding, polymer science, culinary arts and engineering/robotics — have their own dedicated spaces, and each has the room they will need to expand in the future.

Maintenance Director Greg Wheat checks out the kitchen of the new LCSD Career Technology Center – Photo by Louisa Porter – Dispatch Staff

“Right now, we have a little less than 100 students in our vocational programs at the three high schools,” Wright said. “Next fall, we expect to have 450 students enrolled in programs here. . .We’ve been working closely with Mississippi State on developing the polymer science program since it’s new for us,” he went on to say. “They are helping us find an instructor in addition to helping us put together the program. . .”We really see this as something the whole community can use. Programs like the (Greater Columbus) Learning Center are already showing interest. . .We’re not just talking about [interest from] the PACCARs and Steel Dynamics, but smaller industries, too,” he said. “We’ve really had interest from all over the county, from big and small.”

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