PRCC providing experience through community service

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2017

At Pearl River Community College, the goal for Vice President of Economic Development Scott Alsobrooks is to “give each student the best opportunity to succeed after they graduate,” he said.
In an effort to give each student real-life experience in the workforce, Alsobrooks said the college coordinates community service projects around the area, which saves the community money while providing experience to the students.
Finding a job or internship can be fairly difficult for graduates, especially if they do not have prior work experience. Alsobrooks said PRCC focuses on the future of every student, and if a student cannot find an internship or job, they want these programs to serve as credible work experience to impress future employers.
“If students are not able to find something, we want to prepare them with the same experiences through the community service projects to give them an edge when it comes to finding jobs after school,” Alsobrooks said.
PRCC offers approximately 30 programs, from cosmetology to commercial truck driving, which all involve PRCC students assisting the community any way they can, while saving organizations money.
Alsobrooks said the programs assist non-profit organizations and any other project that betters the community as a whole, not just individual assistance.
The automotive program at PRCC does a lot of work for the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, such as maintenance the department’s vehicles.
“They are out there keeping our community safe, and we need real cars to work on. It keeps their costs down and gives our students real-life experience on making a difference and working on cars that actually benefit the community. It’s a win-win scenario,” Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks described the projects as work-based learning opportunities, which are slowly being implemented into more of PRCC’s programs.
“We are pushing to get students more real-world experience,” he said. “The goal is to keep the programs relative to the needs within our district and to help the students find ways to get internships and work experience through these programs.”
During the Christmas season, students in the school’s truck driving program hauled donated sand from the Shale Processing Plant to local high school baseball facilities, which helps out the community with cost of sand and transportation. On the other side, Alsobrooks said it benefits the students too because they get a glimpse of what the actual job entails.
“This is great practice for the students,” he said. “What makes all of these programs so great is that we treat them as if they are an employee or a contractor of the company. We follow all the real-world guidelines and treat it as such so they know exactly what to expect when they make that transition to the work force.”

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