Jones College receives $25,000 from PGT for Work Ready Initiative with Laurel High School

ELLISVILLE- A collective partnership with the Jones County EDA, Mississippi Power, and PG Technologies in Ellisville will help ensure some Laurel High School Students are successful at work and school. A $25,000 grant from PG Technologies to Jones College will allow the Work Ready Initiative the two-year college began for its career and technical students to be expanded to Laurel High School students.

“We’re sending an instructor to Laurel High School to teach the Smart Start class or soft skills to 18 students. This includes things like being at work every day and show up on time, resume´ building and financial literacy, to how to fill out an application. These are basic things students need to know to be successful in the classroom or the workplace,” said JC Dean of Workforce College, Jennifer Griffith.

Laurel High School principal, Michael Eubanks said this class will help Laurel High School meet its goal of supporting students to be successful because this is amazing support from the community and from Jones College.

“We really need to excel and swing the pendulum of our district and school to where we want to be. This is the momentum we need,” said Eubanks.

The eighteen students who successfully complete the class will earn dual credit, along with the national NCCRC certification and a Smart Start credential. Most importantly, PG Technologies managing director, Derek Hileman, said this training should open more doors for these students.

“The more we do now (to train people), the less we have to do when they are inside our doors working for us.  It’s critical they learn these skills. It is hard to find talent and we’re working with colleges and high schools, so we’ll all benefit in the long run,” said Hileman.

The check presentation was held in conjunction with the EDA’s Education in Industry Day partly because Jones College’s Work Ready Initiative was an idea resulting from the gathering of business and education leaders.

“Training today is very different in the workforce compared to 10 or 20 years ago,” said Sandy Holifield, director of the EDA of Jones County’s Existing Industry, Leadership Development & Workforce Training. “Educators need to know the difference and industry needs to express what they’re looking for, or what skills are important.”

Hileman said he encourages more businesses to support the efforts of the Work Ready Initiative and the Smart Start Class in the future. For more information about the Workforce College at Jones College call the Whitehead Advanced Technology Center at 601-477-4114.