PRCC working with community for 105 yearsPublished 7:00am Tuesday, April 29, 2014
From its inception, Pearl River Community College has established and maintained a connection between students, the community and the school.
According to the school’s history written by Ron Hague, in 1908, the city of Poplarville approached a board of trustees in order to establish an agricultural high school in the county. Poplarville citizens said they were willing to donate $2,245 and 90 acres of land to establish the school if it was located in Poplarville.
So began the school’s long history with Poplarville and Pearl River County.
Through partnerships with local industry and local governments, PRCC provides work opportunities for its students, said Vice President for Economic and Community Development Dr. Scott Alsobrooks.
With 40 percent of PRCC students on track to enter the workforce when they graduate, providing up to date curricula that matches the needs of the local workforce is important, Alsobrooks said.
He said one way the school works with the community is through the creation of craft committees. Faculty on the craft committees are in charge of seeking out industry partners to review curriculum offered at PRCC in order to guarantee the current needs of that particular workforce are being met. Industry partners also work with the college to hire PRCC students upon graduation and supervise or provide work experience before students graduate, Alsobrooks said.
“The craft committees help keep us grounded and focused on what the industry needs are,” Alsobrooks said.
Recently, PRCC students have worked with different civic programs to help the community.
Welding students are currently making historical markers for the Poplarville Historical Society to be placed around the city.
Alsobrooks said lineman students have also worked to repair light poles at the fields used by PYAA.
“We try to go over and above to make sure our students get good jobs when they graduate,” Alsobrooks said.
Recently the Aspen Foundation ranked PRCC in the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide. The school has also sent in their application in the hopes of being named as one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation.
Many organizations rank universities, but neglect research and rank community colleges, Alsobrooks said.
This year, Aspen has decided to look at all aspects of community colleges, including graduation rate, job placement success and successful transfer to a university, in order to create a ranking system for the community colleges, Alsobrooks said.
“It’s just an honor and shows what a great asset our college and the community are to each other,” Alsobrooks said.
Pearl River County Agricultural High School added a two-year college program to the curriculum in 1925 after the state legislature passed a bill in 1922 that established two-year college programs.
In 1960, Pearl River County Agricultural High School and Junior College became Pearl River Junior College and all students at the agricultural high school were transferred to the Poplarville school district.