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PRCC receives workforce training funding through Reskill Mississippi

Pearl River Community College has received over $2.2 million for workforce development as part of Reskill Mississippi, which means locals interested in receiving workforce training may be able to get the cost of their training covered.

Roughly 90 percent of the funding will go to equipment, while the other 10 percent can be used for training vouchers for non credit training programs to help offset the financial burden the local community has felt due to the pandemic. This means tuition assistance is available through Reskill Mississippi to cover the majority of program costs for non-credit training programs like forklift classes, welding classes, the CNA program or training for CDL and electrical manufacturing skills, said Rebecca Brown, Dean of Workforce and Community Development.

The classes available range in time frame from one-day training sessions to classes that last for three months. Different course options are available at the Forrest County, Poplarville and Hancock County PRCC campuses.

The CARES Act funds are being distributed through House Bill 1795. The Governor and the State Workforce Investment Board collaborated to create the reskill branding and marketing initiative statewide and the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District is administering the funds.

“These funds expire at the end of December, so we’re trying to connect as many people with meaningful training opportunities as quickly as we can,” said Brown.

Equipment purchases will increase capacity for programs in demand due to the pandemic or they will help the community college serve more people than it can currently. For instance, the licensed nurse practitioner program increased in demand, so the school is able to get more equipment to serve more people through the program.

The increased interest in medical programs was a little shocking, said Brown. Administration of the workforce training program knew there would be a high employer demand for medical field workers, but prepared for a slight decrease in student interest in the medical field, given the additional challenges placed on medical workers due to the pandemic, Brown said.

“If anything we’ve seen numbers steadily rise. People do really want to be involved in a meaningful way in helping us to all move past this time,” she said.

The majority of the equipment has been ordered and should arrive within the next two months.

It is not often that colleges are able to use funding to decrease the student to technology ratio, said Brown. The new equipment is especially critical in allied health classes. Some healthcare industry partners have had to pause clinicals due to the pandemic, so those courses need equipment to help students get clinical hours on campus.

So far, 136 people have enrolled in the Reskill Mississippi program through PRCC. Certified nursing assistant classes, welding classes and forklift operator classes have been especially popular.

“The majority of people have been affected financially by COVID even more than they realize, so we will step them through that eligibility process,” said Brown.

Everyone in PRCC’s six county district is eligible to apply for the programs. Anyone interested in the program can start that process by filling out an eligibility survey at reskillms.com, visiting the prcc.edu website or by contacting the work force training program at 601-554-4646.

Correction: The LPN program is a for credit course, so not eligible for tuition assistance vouchers through Reskill Mississippi.