Pearl River Community College receives $1.9 million in Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for Aerospace Academy

Published 10:33 am Friday, April 2, 2021

By Alexandra Kennedy

PRCC Public Relations

WAVELAND, Miss. — Pearl River Community College is one step closer to offering more groundbreaking training and educational opportunities in Hancock County through the recent appropriation of $1.9 million in Gulf Coast Restoration Funds for the institution’s Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy.

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“We are grateful for the overwhelming support provided by district and coastal legislative delegation,” Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “This academy will serve as an economic engine for the entire region. Our goal is to provide premier educational and workforce development opportunities. This investment will provide the financial resources to acquire state-of-the-art equipment that is necessary to train our workforce to compete in a global market.”

The allocated money will provide state-of-the-art equipment for the Academy’s career and technical workforce programs. These programs will give the opportunity for Mississippians to gain the skills needed to be more productive and have an improved quality of life. The facility will also provide employers a better trained and educated workforce.

“It has been great working with Pearl River Community College and Stennis International Airport and we look forward to the continued growth of Hancock County,” District 122 Representative Brent Anderson said.

The Academy will be able to meet the ever-changing needs and growth of the technical fields and remain on the forefront of research and innovative technologies. Through partnerships, it will create a center of excellence unique to this region and allow Mississippi to boast a competitive edge that cannot easily be matched.

“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with Pearl River Community College and the State from the beginning of this new endeavor and partnership between PRCC and the new workforce development center located in Hancock County,” District 46 Senator Philip Moran said.

Added Angie Kothmann, Pearl River Director of Government & Community Relations: “PRCC was very fortunate this legislative session. By receiving this $1.9 million, it will assist in providing career technical and workforce equipment to the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy. This new state-of-the-art PRCC campus will not only be a game changer for Hancock County and the state of Mississippi, but our entire Gulf Coast region as well.”

District 93 Representative Timmy Ladner has also been supportive of PRCC and the project since its beginning.

The Academy located adjacent to Stennis International Airport, Hancock High School and the Stennis Space Center Buffer Zone, will be an estimated 26,000 square feet and represents an expanded presence for PRCC in Hancock County on Fred and Al Key Road. The facility will consist of eight classrooms, five labs, reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, indoor sitting/vending area for students and an outdoor courtyard sitting area.

The hangar will be an estimated 18,000 square feet and will consist of two classrooms with labs, open hangar area with hands-on lab stations, outdoor covered area for equipment training, lobby with reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, small vending area for students. The hangar and classroom facility will be an extension of the Academy with hands-on training space as well as state of the art classroom learning environments. Direct runway access will allow for study and testing of operational vehicles with attention given to state-of-the art composites and sheet metal materials. Aviation systems and power plant design, repair and maintenance can be studied, performed and tested in real time on operational equipment. The facility will have direct access to the Stennis International Airport runways, service and fueling facilities.  The hangar will offer the following programs: Aviation Maintenance Technology, Unmanned Systems and Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology.

The Academy will provide state-of-the-art learning spaces for students in the form of computer and video enhanced classrooms along with adjacent hands-on labs and shop spaces. The learning environments will combine computer simulated training with the benefits of hands-on work with the tools and equipment used in the vehicles located in the adjacent PRCC Hangar Facility. It is the intention for this facility to promote learning and skill creation for the workforce training needed to operate and maintain the equipment and vehicles we will use during this century and beyond.

Every classroom and lab will be designed to be multifunctional and versatile to constantly fit the changing needs of the business and industries in this area. Programs listed are the ore offerings to start, but they can be amended at any time.

The Hangar is estimated to be completed in 2022 and the Academy in 2023.

The academy will offer diverse educational opportunities including academic, career and technical and workforce programs.

The Academy will offer the following programs: Instrumentation, Industrial Electronics Technology, Practical Nursing, Welding and Cutting Technology, Computer Aided Design and Drafting, Business Management Technology, Academic Courses, Workforce Programs and Adult Education/GED.

The programs that will be new to the Hancock location upon its opening are Instrumentation, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Industrial Electronics Technology, Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology, Computer Aided Design and Drafting, Business Management Technology and Coding Technology.

Pearl River Community College is inviting all prospective students to its Poplarville Campus on April 20 for a fun and informative event “GET ONBOARD: The Wildcat Experience.”

The Wildcat Experience is a chance for future Wildcats to enjoy a free fun event where they can experience college life activities while also getting answers to all their important questions about the onboarding process of becoming a Wildcat. The come-and-go event will be held on PRCC’s Poplarville Campus, 101 Hwy 11 North, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. and is open to any prospective students.

Students can register for the Wildcat Experience by visiting PRCC.EDU/wildcatexperience.