Communiversity Working Hard to Prove Its Worth to Prospective Students

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Emma McRae

The EMCC Communiversity was Built in 2019 with $42.6 million from various government sources and has acted as a regional educational and workforce development hub, despite hurdles such as administrative changes and initially low enrollment. It has also served as a training center for big manufacturers and other major businesses. They primarily look for high schoolers who want to go into technical positions and will need training before they apply for work.

EMCC – The $42 million facility opened in 2019 as an educational hub for career technical students and workforce development – Emma McRae – Dispatch Staff

Courtney Taylor, the Communiversity’s first director, said: “There’s a big reality in the workforce that most people don’t get to engage directly with the companies that are manufacturing things in their communities. . . A lot of the efforts we got started back then were to get people exposed and engaged to the occupations in the area and then get them excited about the training program. . . High school students were the big focus just because we weren’t getting them,” she went on to say.

Taylor is now the executive director at Accelerate Mississippi, a statewide workforce development office that focuses primarily on high schoolers who will graduate in the next year or two. The services they offer include technical coaching at the HS level. “The whole idea is to give these kids options and show them what their resources are,” Columbus High School Career Coach Jim Sutherland said.

Another important facet of getting kids interested in these fields includes demonstrating to them that their interests can be developed into a lifelong career: “A big part of our jobs as career coaches is actually to find those kids that are not going to go the traditional route,” Knollie Edge, a career coach at New Hope High School, said. Field trips and in-school demonstrations help to provide that information to the young students.

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