Accelerate MS awards PRCC $1.7 million grant for workforce development projects, equipment

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

HATTIESBURG, Miss. ­— Pearl River Community College has been awarded $1.7 million in grants from Accelerate MS and the Mississippi Office of Workforce Development that will help benefit local business and industry.
The main purpose of the grants will be to create the talent pipeline that local businesses and industries need to adapt to the workforce challenges that began during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grants will allow for the purchase of new, cutting-edge equipment as well as aid in instructional costs and tuition assistance for qualified students.
“This is seed money for our future,” PRCC President Adam Breerwood said Thursday during a grant announcement at the Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center. “We have positioned ourselves to change the face of this area when it comes to workforce training. We are incredibly excited to receive these grants to expand student opportunities.”
Among those on hand for the announcement were Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and AccelerateMS Executive Director Ryan Miller.
“I am so excited about this announcement today,” said Gov. Reeves. “It’s all about economic development, all about bringing jobs to the state. I am so optimistic about where we are heading.
“PRCC gets it right when it comes to workforce development.”
One grant, for $1,105,423.02, is for Advanced Manufacturing and Distribution Support. The strategy will be to strengthen the local supply chain so that employers have the workforce they need to produce and distribute American-made goods worldwide.
The second grant, for $671,275.31, is for Healthcare Training. The strategy will be to address healthcare professional and staff shortages.
Accelerate MS is the leading office for workforce development strategy and delivery in Mississippi.
“Today is a special day,” said Miller. “The ecosystem is growing in this part of the state. It is thriving. The greatest example of ecosystems is right here in this room.
“You have K-12, community colleges, IHL leadership, local leadership, state leadership and other state agencies that have been tasked with carrying the banner of workforce education. Pearl River is the greatest example of this ecosystem. This is what we want to see replicated around the state.”
Grant money for the Advanced Manufacturing and Distribution Support will help fund a mobile mechanical classroom that can be used where workforce and career-technical classes are held throughout PRCC’s six-county district, including Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Jeff Davis, Pearl River and Hancock counties. It will also provide funding for a new truck to be used for CDL training in Hancock County.
PRCC, through the use of these funds, will provide technical skills training for both credit Career-Technical programs and non-credit Workforce programs in fields that support the advanced manufacturing and distribution sectors.
Students and local employees entering training will be able to earn both credentials (manufacturing skills basic, NCCER Core, FANUC Robotics Tool Handling, and CDL) and career and technical degrees.
The grant for Healthcare Training will help support a new Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at the Forrest County Campus as well as help expand the ADN nursing program to nights on the Poplarville campus and help establish an ADN program at the Forrest County Campus.
According to its website, “Accelerate MS strives to align educational, training, and economic development initiatives to position Mississippi and Mississippians with diverse, productive, and well-paying employment. We serve Mississippians by providing awareness of pathways and resources to improve lives through training and education. By doing this, we serve the needs of business and industry.”

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