Jones College receives EDA grant for robotic training

ELLISVILLE – The Economic Development Authority of Jones County and PG Technologies, LLC in Ellisville have formed a partnership with Jones College to provide advanced technology training with robotics at the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center.  Jones College has purchased two, 140 ABB Robotic Arms with controllers, teach pendants, grippers and transformers with PG Technologies’ EDA Funding Support grant of more than $62,500.

“Jones College is excited to partner with PG Technologies to offer training utilizing equipment purchased with an allocation from the EDA Funding Support. This equipment will be used to train PG Technologies’ new and existing employees. Training will be managed by PG Technologies and Jones College,” said Jennifer Griffith, Dean of the JC Workforce College.

PG Technologies employees have utilized Jones College’s workforce training programs and are excited to be able to add another component with the purchase of this new equipment at Jones. Workforce Coordinator/ Financial Lead of Workforce College at JC, Greg Butler said the robotic equipment purchased will not be limited to just PG Technologies employees. The Mechatronics Department of Jones College will utilize the robotic arms for training Jones students in the Electro-Mechanical and Mechatronics programs as well as provide training for companies through Jones’ Workforce College training programs.

“This equipment will give Jones College the ability to provide world-class training to the workforce in our area,” said Butler.

The EDA of Jones County President, Ross Tucker said the EDA is excited to be able to provide advanced workforce training to boost economic growth in the region.

“It is a wonderful partnership to have with Jones College and PG Technologies. This is an opportunity to offer high-tech training for current and future employees, with the possibility of attracting more business to the county,” said Tucker.

PG Technologies combined the expertise of GE Aviation and Praxair in 2016 and chose to move into the GE plant in Ellisville. The combined efforts of the Economic Development Authority of Jones County, Mississippi Power, the city of Ellisville and Jones County joined the Mississippi Development Authority to offer incentives for PG Technologies to invest in Jones County, Mississippi. The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of the project for infrastructure and building improvements, relocation of equipment and workforce training. State and local officials pledged more than $20 million in grants and tax breaks to attract the plant to the Magnolia State.  The manufacturing joint venture provides the development, support and application of specialized coatings for GE components associated with nearly all of GE’s aircraft engines. GE Aviation delivers jet engine parts from its locations throughout the U.S. to PG Technologies to undergo surface coating through various processes.

For more information about Jones College’s Workforce College training contact the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center at 601-477-4114.


Jones College’s Christmas Show helps Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program

ELLISVILLE – The partnership between Jones College’s Fine Arts department and the Salvation Army has brought hundreds of toys to children and smiles from adults enjoying the last five Christmas benefit shows. This year, the audience attending the Christmas Show, “Santa’s Swingin’ Pajama Party” was extremely gracious in giving unwrapped toy donations for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in lieu of a ticket for the concert.  After the show, Jones students helped the Salvation Army fill a dozen bags full of toys for children in the Pine Belt.

“Giving has been up this year but it is always amazing to witness the outpouring of love from the community for these kids.  With the booming economy, we have collected more gifts with about the same number of people requesting our assistance. The donation of toys from the community and Jones College will help greatly,” said Laurel Salvation Army Major, Raymond Pruitt.

JCJC Fine Arts Division Chair, Mark Brown said he is happy about the big crowd attending the Christmas Show and donating presents. The music groups, JC Voices, JC Jazz, Bridge, along with the Touch of Gold Dance Team and theater students combined their talents to reward the crowd for their generosity with various traditional, new and jazzy Christmas songs and a show, directed by Bruce Smith.

“‘Santa’s Swingin’ Pajama Party’ was a tremendous success and I would like to thank the community for giving so generously to The Salvation Army Angel Tree Campaign. The students and faculty involved in the performance were pleased to have such a wonderful audience full of friends, young and old enjoying an entertaining show,” said Mark Brown.

For more information about the Angel Tree program, contact the Salvation Army at 601-428-4232 or go to For more information about the JC Fine Arts programs call at 601-477-4203. Follow JC Fine Arts on Facebook and Twitter.

Guest Stars in order of appearance

Jingle – Landon Williams of Waynesboro

Belle – Coco Caldwell of Laurel

Barbie – Sydney Brady of Madison

Ken – Jared Woullard of Leakesville

Mrs. Claus – Shaylee Thames of Petal


Members of JC Jazz

Dr. Ben Burge, Director

Joshua Anderson, Sandhill

John Harrison, Laurel

Kenton Henderson, Richton

Kendall Herrington, Enterprise

Sydney Herrington, Enterprise

Ryan Nowell, Ellisville

Hunter Gammil, Petal

Logan Donald, Ellisville

Michael Brown, Laurel

Bethany Miller, Ellisville

Linda Echenique, Laurel

Cole Johnson, Laurel

Clay Whitt, Vancleave

John Ivey, Petal

Zack Gregore, Petal

Matthew Dodd, Petal

Matthew Haight, Mobile, AL

Tristan Garrett, Laurel

Courtland Goff, Ellisville

Members of JC Voices

Dr. Susan A. Smith, Conductor

Ms. Jennifer Bruton, Assistant Director

Dr. David Goldblatt, Accompanist

Kenneth Anderson, Sand Hill

Kalyn Bales, Stringer

Ella Barker, Hattiesburg

James Bilbo, Hattiesburg

Faith Bufkin, Ellisville

Jorge Castillo, Ellisville

Kassidy Chandler, Laurel

Mary Coats, Taylorsville

Hayden Dillistone, Laurel

Reagan Dukes, Laurel

Nathaniel Gamblin, Waynesboro

Shedrick George, Laurel

Matthew Haight, Mobile, AL

Victor Harris, Laurel

Dakota Malone, Raleigh

Addison Nelms, Brandon

Lamar Saddler, Quitman

Jordan Sistrunk, Mize

Kendra Stevison, Lucedale

Alyssa White, Laurel

Davonzell Moncrief, Montrose

DeMoynedre Morgan, Houston

Eli McMellon, Moselle

Stuyuncey Nobles, Laurel

Caleb Pearce, Ellisville

Shellie Roberts, Ellisville

Members of The Bridge:

Dr. Susan A. Smith, Conductor

Mr. Gregory Wascoe, Assistant Director

Dr. David Goldblatt, Accompanist

James Bilbo, Ellisville

Jorge Castillo, Moselle

Kassidy Chandler, Laurel

Reagan Dukes, Laurel

Shedrick George, Laurel

Addison Nelms, Brandon

Davonzell Moncrief, Montrose

Caleb Pearce, Ellisville

Kendra Stevison, Lucedale

Touch of Gold Dancers

Anna Catherine Hampton, Petal High School

Sydney Jolly, Petal High School

Ryleigh Meadows, Petal High School

Lauryn Wheat, Petal High School

Sydney Beech, Laurel Christian High School

Rylee Gavin, South Jones High School

Lauren Hankins, Northeast Jones High School

Mary Hanna, South Jones High School

Holly James, South Jones High School

Taylor Martin, South Jones High School

Timber Prince, South Jones High School

Victoria Strickland, South Jones

Ashley Sumrall, West Jones High School

Courtney Thigpen, Laurel High School

Faith Lewis, Lawrence County

Julia Fairley, Richton High School

Victoria Carter, Brandon High School

Audrey Johnson, Warren Central High School

Lakeryia Lacey, Wayne County High School